The simple arithmetic of China's growth slowdown

By Danny Quah
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, March 18, 2015
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The conclusion? China in 2015 is a very different economy from even just 10 years earlier. China has changed far more than the world has in this time. A 7 percent growth rate is obviously lower than an 8 percent one. So, whatever good comes from a 7 percent growth rate, at the margin a growth rate a little higher will be even better. But, quantifying the changes that have taken place in the global economy, a 7 percent growth rate for China today means something even more positive than did a 12 percent growth rate 10 years ago.

One can of course imagine scenarios where China's slowdown ends up much worse for, say, ASEAN, than that indicated here. If spillovers (not from trade connections but something else) unfurled across the rest of the world as a consequence, then a China shock would come with far more damaging effects on the ASEAN economy. But just as plausibly a China slowdown might itself be caused by, perhaps, a resurgence in US manufacturing. Then the overall effects on ASEAN or anywhere else in the world will depend on the relative strengths of the two opposing effects: the US driving ASEAN exports against China slowing them. However that unfolds, the final effect on ASEAN will not be caused by just a slowdown in China's growth. Finally, if China's growth slows from having switched to greater reliance on domestic consumption, then export opportunities for the rest of the world will simply be correspondingly larger.

This article first appeared in Brookings Future Development on February 18, 2015.

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