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China's slowest growth since 1992? Relax.

China's slowest growth since 1992? Relax.

The last time China's economy was growing as slowly as it is today, Sir Mix-A-Lot stood atop the US charts (he liked big butts and he could not lie), a country called "West Germany" was the reigning FIFA World Cup champ, and South Africa still practiced apartheid.

Hard to believe, I know, but that's what the latest data says: annual expansion of China's economy fell to 6.2 percent in the second quarter of this year, the slowest rate since 1992.

Some of that slowdown comes from weaker exports: caused in part by Donald Trump administration's fresh tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese exports. And some of it comes from the current Chinese government's policy of steadily pulling back on the massive, but financially precarious, infrastructure investments that have helped boost growth in the past. And some of it is just simple math: an economy can't keep growing at 10 percent indefinitely. China's massive economy has been gradually cooling for years now.

So there are three ways to look at this.

The global view: Not all "six percents" are equal. Adjusted for differences in purchasing power, China's GDP is about 25 trillion dollars, according to the World Bank. Even if an economy of that size is growing at "only" 6 percent, that means it adds new output equal to the entire German economy every four years. Within 10 years, it'll have added GDP equal to another United States.

The domestic consideration: The Chinese government's own target is for growth between 6 percent and 6.5 percent, so no one is ringing alarm bells in Beijing just yet. What's more, the job market – which matters more to your average Chinese citizen (and the Chinese government) than a nationwide growth figure – is still looking pretty good. So President Xi Jinping isn't about to pump tons of money into the economy to give things a jolt.

But what if the growth figure drops below that 6 percent target range? Beijing wants the economy to look as robust as possible as the People's Republic celebrates its 70th birthday this fall. And if there's one thing that could pitch the Chinese economy further into gloom it's… you guessed it…

The one guy whose perceptions matter most: Trump immediately seized on news of the Chinese slowdown as evidence that his tough stance on US-China trade is working. If Trump smells blood in the water around China's economy, he'll be inclined – rightly or wrongly -- to hit Beijing even harder as the recently revived trade talks continue. And that could change the picture for the Chinese economy more significantly.

Khant Thaw Htoo is a young engineer who works in Eni's Sakura Tower office in the heart of Yangon. As an HSE engineer, he monitors the safety and environmental impact of onshore and offshore operations. He also looks out for his parents' well-being, in keeping with Myanmar's traditions.

Learn more about Khant in the final episode of the Faces of Eni series, which focuses on Eni's employees around the world.

On his first day as president, Joe Biden signed a remarkable series of executive orders. Boom! The US rejoins the Paris Climate Accord. Bang! The United States rejoins the World Health Organization. Pow! No more ban on immigration from many Muslim-majority countries. Biden's press secretary reminded reporters later in the day that all these orders merely begin complex processes that take time, but the impact is still dramatic.

If you lead a country allied with the US, or you're simply hoping for some specific commitment or clear and credible statement of purpose from the US government, you might feel a little dizzy today. The sight of an American president (Barack Obama) signing his name, of the next president (Donald Trump) erasing that name from the same legislation/bill, and then the following president (Biden) signing it back into law again will raise deep concerns over the long-term reliability of the world's still-most-powerful nation.

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Listen: Renowned tech journalist Kara Swisher has no qualms about saying that social media companies bear responsibility for the January 6th pro-Trump riots at the Capitol and will likely be complicit in the civil unrest that may continue well into Biden's presidency. It's no surprise, she argues, that the online rage that platforms like Facebook and Twitter intentionally foment translated into real-life violence. But if Silicon Valley's current role in our national discourse is untenable, how can the US government rein it in? That, it turns out, is a bit more complicated. Swisher joins Ian Bremmer on our podcast.

Ian Bremmer discusses the World In (more than) 60 Seconds:

Biden's first scheduled call with a world leader will be with Canada's Justin Trudeau. What's going on with the Keystone Pipeline?

Well, Biden said that that's it. Executive order, one of the first is that he will stop any construction or development of the Keystone Pipeline. This is of course an oil pipeline that would allow further oil sands oil to come to the United States. The infrastructure is significantly overstretched, it's led to backlogs, inefficiency, accidents, all the rest, but it also facilitates more energy development and keeps prices comparatively down if you get it done. So, there are lots of reasons why the energy sector in Canada wants it. Having said all of that, Trudeau, even though he's been a supporter of Keystone XL, let's keep in mind that he did not win support in Alberta, which is where the big energy patch in Canada is located. This is a real problem for the government of Alberta, Canada is a very decentralized federal government, even more so than the United States. The premier of Alberta is immensely unhappy with Biden right now, they've taken a $1.5 billion equity stake in the project. I expect there will actually be litigation against the United States by the government of Alberta. But Trudeau is quite happy with Biden, his relationship was Trump was always walking on eggshells. The USMCA in negotiations ultimately successful but were very challenging for the Canadians, so too with the way Trump engaged in relations on China. All of this, the fact that Trump left the nuclear agreement with Iran, the Paris Climate Accords, WHO, all of that is stuff that Trudeau strongly opposed. He's going to be much more comfortable with this relationship. He's delighted that the first call from Biden is to him. And it certainly creates a level of normalcy in the US-Canada relationship that is very much appreciated by our neighbors to the North.

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The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.

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