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Country Forecast China July 2018 Updater

Country Forecast China July 2018 Updater

  • July 2018
  • ID: 1697622
  • Format: PDF
  • The Economist Intelligence Unit

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  • In March 2018 the annual session of the National People's Congress (the legislature) confirmed the president, Xi Jinping, for a second five-year term. It also voted to remove term limits from the offices of the presidency and vice-presidency, confirming Mr Xi's plan to stay in power beyond 2023.
  • Mr Xi's centralisation of power will allow firmer enforcement of his policies meant to ensure the ascendancy of the Chinese Communist Party while fostering more balanced growth. However, this concentration of authority creates risks by tying the political system to Mr Xi's health and judgment.
  • Mr Xi aims to increase China's engagement with international policy issues and economic projects designed to deepen its influence, such as the Belt and Road Initiative. Trade and investment disputes will cause the US-China relationship to deteriorate but, despite the imposition of additional tariffs and investment restrictions, The Economist Intelligence Unit does not expect a full bilateral "trade war" in 2018-22.
  • Economic policymakers have stepped back from pursuing outright deleveraging in the near term and will instead aim merely to cool the pace of debt accumulation. This will be positive for near-term growth but raises risks for the longer term. Major market liberalisation is not expected in 2018-22.
  • The authorities are intent on hitting a 2020 target of doubling real GDP compared with the 2010 level. They will ensure that growth exceeds the minimum required level of 6.3% a year on average in 2018-20 to reach this goal, but after that there will be room to shift to a more flexible economic policy. We forecast that GDP growth will slow to 5.4% a year on average in 2021-22.
  • After a recent period of strength for the renminbi, we expect tax reforms and anticipated interest-rate rises in the US to cause the local currency to depreciate against the US dollar in the second half of 2018. A declining current-account surplus will also apply downward pressure over the forecast period. The renminbi is forecast to stand at Rmb7.06:US$1 on average in 2022.
  • The current-account surplus will average the equivalent of 0.2% of GDP in 2018-22, lower than historical levels. Growth in goods exports will average 7.1% a year, with imports rising by 8.9%. The services deficit will expand markedly, mainly owing to demand for overseas travel services. Tight capital-account controls will be loosened in 2018-19, but could be imposed again later.






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