Wednesday, January 6, 2010

China is the world's top exporter of goods, in 2009

The Wall Street Journal reported on Jan 6, 2010, that China is likely to export more goods than Germany in 2009.
China took over the mantle of the world's top merchandise exporter from Germany in 2009, according to the latest figures, aided by a global economic crisis that has taken a greater toll on other trading powers.

China exported $957 billion of goods in the first 10 months of 2009, compared with $917 billion for Germany, according to customs data compiled by Global Trade Information Services, a Geneva-based firm.

No changes in November or December are expected to overturn the Chinese lead, trade experts say. China is likely to publish trade figures for the full year next week.

You may find the complete article here, "China Dethrones Germany as Top Goods Exporter".

Friday, January 1, 2010

China and India in the decade ahead

As 2009 came to a close, and the new year dawned, two prominent Indian economists and columnists picked up their crystal balls, and looked at the decade ahead. Among other things, both of them compared the future economic trajectories of both China and India.

Sawminathan Aiyar makes eight predictions in his article "India to overtake China in 2020" in Times of India, on Jan 1, 2010. The first prediction compared China and India.
India will overtake China as the fastest-growing economy in the world. China will start ageing and suffering from a declining workforce, and will be forced to revalue its currency. So its growth will decelerate, just as Japan decelerated in the 1990s after looking unstoppable in the 1980s. Having become the world's second-biggest economy, China's export-oriented model will erode sharply - the world will no longer be able to absorb its exports at the earlier pace. Meanwhile, India will gain demographically with a growing workforce that is more literate than ever before. The poorer Indian states will start catching up with the richer ones. This will take India's GDP growth to 10% by 2020, while China's growth will dip to 7-8%.
In a more ominous vein, Mr Aiyar foresees the possibility of a water war between China and India.
China, alarmed at India's rise, will raise tensions along the Himalayan border. China will threaten to divert the waters of the Brahmaputra from Tibet to water-scarce northern China. India will threaten to bomb any such project. The issue will go to the Security Council.
Please Read Swaminathan Aiyar's complete article here.

Surjit S Bhalla, in his column, "The new decade will belong to India; when will this reality be recognised by Indians?" in the Business Standard, on Dec 26, 2009,
Two key conclusions emerge about Indian GDP growth. First, that this growth is now at a plateau level of 8-9 per cent. Second, that very soon, analysts and punters will have to change their Word documents to “India is the fastest growing economy in the world” rather than, “excepting China, India is the fastest growing economy”.

There are three separate reasons for this, all of which have been outlined numerous times before in these columns (and a detailed assessment was provided in Bhalla-2007*). The reasons refer to the broad determinants of economic growth — capital, labour and productivity. On the first, India is investing at the same rate as China (approximately 40 per cent of GDP), on the second, India’s labour force growth is about 1.8 per cent per year faster than China, and on the third, China has outpaced India by about 2 per cent per annum (for the last five years). Most of this outpacing has had to do with the deep and deeper currency undervaluation practised by the Chinese authorities which led to two unsatisfactory outcomes: the great financial crisis of 2008, and now the largest and fastest growing polluter of the world. For how long will the international community stand idly by? Not very, and this is the first big forecast for the ensuing decade: China’s exchange rate will appreciate significantly starting 2010. How significantly? A first year appreciation to about 6 yuan per dollar from the present 6.8 level.

This scenario will have predicted effects — China’s GDP growth should moderate to a less polluting 8.5 per cent in 2010 and then proceed on a declining trend for the rest of the decade. This will mean jobs for the rest of the world.
Please read Surjit Bhalla's complete article here.

It would be interesting to know how some of the Chinese and international economists are looking at the decade ahead. If you come across other interesting analysis, please do share it with us.