China Will Lead Global Economy Out of Recession
BEIJING (WALL STREET JOURNAL) -- China's government has turned around its economy far faster than most thought possible, as officials said Thursday that growth accelerated to 7.9% in the second quarter. Even if the surge moderates in coming quarters, many analysts say China will very nearly meet its target of an 8% expansion for all of 2009. In the first quarter, gross domestic product grew 6.1% from a year earlier.
The Shanghai stock market's benchmark index has gained 75% this year (see chart above) as the Chinese outlook has improved, with factory output, bank lending and commodity imports all continuing to accelerate in the past few months. Now, authorities face increasing questions about how long this growth can last, and how quickly the world's third-largest economy can be weaned off its massive stimulus before longer-term problems take root.
"China will be among the first countries to lead the global economy out of this recession," said Hans Timmer, director of the World Bank's economic forecasting department. Developing countries such as China are becoming a bigger driver of global growth as U.S. households cut back consumption and boost savings, he said.
China's government only reports year-on-year growth estimates. But when measured in the same terms as other major economies—an annualized quarter-on-quarter comparison—China's growth in the second quarter could be on the order of 15%, some private economists estimate.