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China’s economy grew 7.7% in 2013, its lowest rate of growth since 1999.
This comes as Beijing is making efforts to curb credit growth and rebalance the economy away from one being led by investment and exports to one being driven by consumption.
Concerns, however, continue to abound about China’s massive shadow banking sector and the potential for a wave of trust defaults. Some economists fear that Beijing’s efforts to tighten credit could trigger an economic crisis.
All of these risks are important for investors around the world as China is the world’s second largest economy. It’s also arguably the world’s most important source of growth, having “contributed more than 25% to global GDP growth since 2010,” according to UBS’ Tao Wang.
Despite all of this, most experts agree that the long-term outlook for China is very bright.
In terms of GDP per capita China ranks about one hundredth and “there are still decades of catch up growth left to go,” Alaistair Chan at Moody’s told Business Insider.
“Few seem to understand the historical significance of what is happening there,” according to Jim Rogers. “As the US was rising to its power and glory during the 19th Century, we had a horrible civil war, 15 depressions [Yes, with a D.], few human rights, little rule of law, periodic massacres in the streets, etc., etc. yet we still became the most successful country in the 20th Century.”
“China will have plenty of setbacks along the way as does every country, company, family, and individual that rises,” added Rogers.
Policymakers appear to be willing to tolerate slower growth as it pushes for market-oriented reform.
The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) expects China to overtake the US to become the world’s largest economy in 2028 for the first time since 1890.
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