Wie fit ist der Panda?

Der Economist beschäftigt sich mit einer Abschätzung der Wirtschaftskraft Chinas und kommt zu gemischten, insgesamt aber positiven Ergebnissen:
In many ways China today looks ominously similar to Japan before its bubble burst at the start of the 1990s, resulting in a decade of stagnation. Like Japan, China has high rates of saving and investment, low real interest rates, soaring asset prices, a big current-account surplus and upward pressure on its currency. After the Plaza accord between the big industrial countries in 1985, the Japanese yen rose by 80% against the dollar in three years. Many in China have concluded that the blame for Japan's economic malaise in the 1990s lay largely with the appreciation of the yen. Beijing has therefore allowed the yuan to rise by only 10% since July 2005. But Japan's real mistake was its loose monetary policy to offset the impact of the rising yen—which further inflated the bubble—and then its failure to ease policy once the bust had happened. By holding down the value of the yuan and allowing a consequent build-up of excess liquidity, China risks repeating the same error. However, Paul Cavey, a China economist at Macquarie Securities, suggests that China may have more in common with Taiwan in the 1980s than with Japan. Taiwan's bubble was even bigger, with share prices rocketing by 1,800% between 1985 and 1990. In Japan, reserve accumulation did not play a big role in the bubble. By contrast, the foreign-exchange inflows into Taiwan were greater in relation to its GDP than those seen recently in China. Taiwan, like Japan, saw a big rise in its exchange rate, by 60% in the four years to 1989. In 1990-91 the Taipei stockmarket slumped by 75%, even more than the Tokyo market did. But Taiwan's growth remained fairly strong because policy was eased much sooner than it was in Japan. In other words, contrary to Beijing's fears, a big exchange-rate rise does not inevitably lead to economic depression. The other big difference between China and Japan in the late 1980s is that Japan had a serious property bubble against which banks had lent heavily. Although a house-price crash would have much nastier consequences for China's economy than a share-price crash, because 80% of China's urban households now own their home, there is no evidence of a nationwide housing bubble. Average house prices across China are rising at an annual rate of 8%, with double-digit gains in some cities, such as Shenzhen and Beijing. In a developed economy such increases might seem a little bubbly, but not in one in which nominal GDP is growing at an annual pace of 15%. The ratio of house prices to average income has fallen by 25% in China since 1999. In contrast, at their peak last year American house prices had risen by 45% relative to incomes. A collapse in house prices therefore seems unlikely in China. ... China's economic success has been based on the essential ingredients of growth: high savings, openness to trade, good education and strong productivity growth. This means its long-term prospects remain strong, although its trend growth rate will inevitably slow as its economy matures and its labour force starts to shrink.

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