Neues von Chinas Blasen-Ökonomie

Peking investiert weiter kräftig in gewaltige Infrastrukturprojekte, könnte damit aber nur die Finanzblase weiter aufpusten, fürchtet die New York Times: Nature spent millennia carving the jagged limestone mountains of Guangxi Province into the fanciful forest of stand-alone peaks so prized by ancient painters and modern tourists. Ren Ping and his crew of a few dozen migrant workers have been at their jobs only a few months, but the elevated superhighway they are building has already burrowed a path through the prehistoric crags. "We'll go around this one, but we will have to slice through that one over there," Mr. Ren said over the roar of dump trucks pouring cement. "Drivers on this road will have the most beautiful view in all China." Environmentalists are less enthusiastic. But the highway will link mountainous northern Guangxi to the booming Pearl River delta in the southeast. It is the sort of grand development project that elicits official support and opens checkbooks in China's economy, which some critics say has become dangerously dependent on such state-directed spending. After a road-building campaign unmatched by any country except the United States in the 1950's, China has created an extensive network of multiple-lane highways, complete with landscaped verges and well-equipped rest areas. The Communications Ministry announced in January that it planned to pave a further 53,000 miles of intercity highways and urban ring roads within 30 years at a cost of $250 billion. Total mileage is expected to overtake the American Interstate system, the world's biggest, around 2020. The spending has transformed China's landscape, adding roads, bridges, subways and ports - as well as factories, mines, steel mills and power plants - that could provide the foundation for double-digit growth far into the future. But to an extent that is alarming some Chinese and Western economists, such investment itself is a main driver of China's economy, which grew at a 9.5 percent pace last year. The investment binge, like any bubble, could produce unneeded factories and underused highways and power plants, weakening the country's already shaky financial system. "If China keeps relying on cheap capital to generate growth, sooner or later it will face a major crisis," said Xu Xiaonian, an economist at the China Europe International Business School in Shanghai. "Right now, the economy is afflicted by the curse of diminishing returns."


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