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    China Business
     May 14, '13

Investment and consumption

Beijing-based economist Michael Pettis has carved out through his "China Financial Markets" blog a distinct position with his commentaries on the Chinese economy, notably with his consideration of the difficulties it faces with its necessary rebalancing towards a more consumption-based model. Asia Times Online here draws the attention of Pettis' latest insightful analysis to a wider public.

I have been arguing for several years that once China begins the adjustment process, which I expect to characterize the ten-year period of the current administration, growth rates must slow significantly. My expectation for long-term growth is that it

shouldn't average much above 3-4% annually. This is what it will take for household consumption to rise to roughly 50% of GDP in a decade if consumption growth can be maintained at its historic rates of around 8%.

But I always warn that this is likely to be an upper limit, not a lower limit, to growth. The key is whether or not it is possible to maintain current levels of consumption growth once investment growth is sharply reduced. A recent paper by the IMF on the topic is very interesting and not encouraging.

In the paper ("China's Path to Consumer-Based Growth: Reorienting Investment and Enhancing Efficiency") Il Houng Lee, Murtaza Syed, and Liu Xueyan team up again to examine the impact of investment in different regions and sectors of the economy. ... more

Michael Pettis is a Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a finance professor at Peking University's Guanghua School of Management, where he specializes in Chinese financial markets. He has taught, from 2002 to 2004, at Tsinghua University's School of Economics and Management and, from 1992 to 2001, at Columbia University's Graduate School of Business. He is also Chief Strategist at Guosen Securities (HK), a Shenzhen-based investment bank.

(Reprinted with permission. For Michael Pettis' blog, see here

(Copyright 2013 Michael Pettis.)




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