Is China’s economy showing the first green shoots of recovery? Views differ.
Wen Jiabao, China’s premier, seems to think things are getting better. Speaking on the sidelines of the aborted ASEAN summit, Wen reckons (this is paraphrased) that ‘things are still tough’, but he can see ‘positive changes’ going forward.
China’s $580 billion stimulus package is kicking in, he says, bank lending is improving, real estate sales are coming back and latest trade figures show that China’s exports declined year-on-year at a slower rate in March (17%) than in February (25.7%).
Mr Wen says these are all concrete reasons to believe that China’s economy is ‘in the process of gradual recovery’.
According to Blog Roll, which is associated with The Daily Telegraph in Britain, generally the view of analysts is that investment is returning as China orders its banks to lend, real estate sales are starting up again and everyone connected to the construction industry is slathering at the projects now being expedited by Mr Wen’s stimulus package.
Which brings us to a third category of analysts: the professors and policy wonks.
While most seem to agree that Mr Wen’s stimulus package is going to stabilize China’s economic growth this year — the World Bank says 6.5%, gloomier independent analysts say 5% while Mr Wen is still shooting for a very ‘confident’ 8%.