Coronavirus Could End China’s Decades-Long Economic Growth Streak

The weakness raises the possibility that the Chinese economy may have shrunk in the first quarter of this year. It would be the first contraction since 1976.

Comments: 21

  1. Economists have been wondering when China would hit a speed bump; Political pundits had been predicting that people would move towards democracy as the central planning would fail at some point to deliver; but no one knew or thought about a virus derailing things!

  2. @AKA This is a perfect definition of a Black Swan Event. But is it really unpredicted? 1994 - The Coming Plague, Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance, by Laurie Garrett. “...a health problem in any part of the world can rapidly become a health threat to many or all.” 2/22/2017 - Nature (22 Feb. 2017), “Inside the Chinese lab poised to study world's most dangerous pathogens”. “Some scientists outside China worry about pathogens escaping...The SARS virus has escaped from high-level containment facilities in Beijing multiple times, notes Richard Ebright, a molecular biologist at Rutgers University. Tim Trevan, founder of CHROME Biosafety and Biosecurity Consulting, says that an open culture is important to keeping BSL-4 labs safe, and he questions how easy this will be in China, where society emphasizes hierarchy.” Dr. Ebright told ScienceInsider that the 2019-nCoV data are “consistent with entry into the human population as either a natural accident or a laboratory accident.” “The virus came into that marketplace before it came out of that marketplace." (This lab is 280 meters from the Wuhan wet market) 2/16/2020 - “Biosafety guideline issued to fix chronic management loopholes at virus labs”. Source: Global Times - (China’s) “Ministry of Science and Technology issued new rules over the weekend, requiring laboratories nationwide to boost their biosafety in a move that experts said could fix chronic inadequate management issues.

  3. Welcome to Great Depression time. At least the rich got their much needed tax-cut welfare so we have nothing left to help regular humans.

  4. I'm confused about these predictions for China's economy. It is clear that their markets (to whom they sell) are being hurt. But once this pandemic is under control, they are in a perfect position, ahead of everyone else, to satisfy all of the pent up need for the world. For them the epidemic is essentially over (no more new cases) whereas the rest of the world's economic powerhouses (the US in particular) are in big trouble for the next few months. At worst it's a wash, but if I were to be I'd put my money on China in the economic war to come.

  5. @JFR it's going to take a long time in rest of world to get this under control. In the mean time those factories are going to remain idled for the foreseeable future.

  6. When ego (Xi) gets in the way of serving people honestly and being a good global citizen. Xi and Trump are the same; unfit to lead. They put their populations at risk. China will continue to suffer because companies will no longer trust their leadership. Alternatives for manufacturing, etc. are being explored by Apple and like as we speak. China will be in trouble for a long time.

  7. This virus has caused almost as much disruption as a war would. It's the second worldwide pandemic to originate in china due to that country's poor commercial hygiene and health regulations. There's no way that the rest of the world is going to view china positively in the months and years ahead. That country should prepare to suffer economic losses.

  8. Maybe.. maybe it is time to rethink this whole thing? It has / will not serve us well. In the long run?

  9. Keith Bradsher never stops fantasizing about China's supposed downfall. He's been salivating for it for over a decade. And in another dubious and incompetent analysis, he's trying to paint the virus as some sort of doomsayer for China. Nice try. Looks like he didn't manage to notice that China's contraction is only a small fragment of a worldwide economic contraction. And China's relative share of the world economy has grown dramatically thanks to the fact that they have weathered this virus far better under superior infrastructure and leadership than the United States. China's industries are now restarting at full speed while the US is grinding to a screeching and indefinite halt. Bradsher and Trump have a lot in common. But too bad for them, facts don't go away just because they ignore them.

  10. @Lisa Well-said, Brilliant!

  11. You're worried about China? Guess because the US consumer loves their cheap goods and tech products? Heck, the economic presence of entire nations like Japan and Italy are about to be wiped off the planet. Final blow in the case of Japan, hollowed out working population in that of Italy. Taking with them the EU and the Pacific Rim economies. Brave new world, indeed. Steve Bannon must be thrilled, as is the shade of Osama bin Laden.

  12. We need legislation that requires ALL of our strategic materials required for national security including medicines, the raw materials for their manufacture, medical equipment and devices be manufactured ONLY in North America. This requirement should also be extended to any strategic materials or products used in our national defense. We can wait for our TV's, microwaves and I-phones etc. but we cannot allow our enemies in the world to control our supply of critical products. This Chinese virus pandemic should be a slap in the head for the congress and administration.

  13. I'm...the entire world will take a bit, including the U S.

  14. this article makes it seem like WE are looking at China from the outside of an aquarium. Really? only China? are we immune from this? is Europe? are the "less developed" countries? I just wish we'd stop looking at China right now, and look at ourselves and all our shortcomings, and the hubris of thinking we're still going to win over China.

  15. @Lucien "Win" what? Who's "we"? What does 'losing' look like?

  16. The CCP can take this opportunity to start issuing plausible statistics. They can give upon the fake data and try to create some kind of believability. We have little idea what's really been happening economically in china in recent years.

  17. I think the Coronavirus has exposed the weaknesses and vulnerabilities of each nation losing its ability and capacity to manufacture their own key materials, products, medicines, and machineries.

  18. A bit overstated in the headline. I know, it sells papers but while somewhat true I think it's a bit inflammatory during a period when further inflammation is not required either at the cellular or political level. First of all, economics teaches us the in the long run (whatever that is) growth will trend up or down to some sustainable rate. China's supernormal growth was never sustainable ad infinitum. While they have done a good job lining up raw materials worldwide (better than we), and while they control the flow of labor and resources, at some point it had to slow down. Unless the coronavirus murders the workforce, which is what they are so afraid of, (ergo the draconian shutdowns) China will continue to have almost unlimited capital resources, capital assets and labor. The price will go up as those get squeezed, which would happen with or without COVID. But the slowdown was always in the cards. It's just the timing. Yes COVID will truncate their growth. No it shouldn't be a surprise. Yes it will truncate our growth but what else did you expect at the end of a 12 year expansion?

  19. Another case of “I have a theory which I have and which is mine” syndrome. Hint: one point does not a trend make, especially if that point is the result of extremely unusual and non-permanent circumstances. China will be up and running gain by the end of the year. The worst that will happen is an acceleration of the already in motion exodus of manufacturing to cheaper third world countries

  20. I hope it does. We should NEVER have allowed this greedy capitalist push for global centralization of industries — especially not to a dictatorship known for human rights abuses. We should never have allowed off-shoring and outsourcing of materials, customer service, and manufacturing. We should never have allowed big agribusiness, tech, pharma, and other vital industries to concentrate their entire operations into one secretive nation known for industry theft and substituting subpar-to-poisonous materials. Food is meant to be seasonal and regional. Jobs and goods are meant to be local. Business and Wall Street are meant to be regulated. Citizens’ human rights, freedoms, health and safety are meant to be protected and guaranteed by taxpayer money. Globalization in the hands of a few billionaire capitalists, oligarchs, authoritarian world leaders, and tribal princes is an experiment that never should’ve been allowed.

  21. 1994 - The Coming Plague, Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance, by Laurie Garrett. “...a health problem in any part of the world can rapidly become a health threat to many or all.” 2/22/2017 - Nature (22 Feb. 2017), “Inside the Chinese lab poised to study world's most dangerous pathogens”. “Some scientists outside China worry about pathogens escaping...The SARS virus has escaped from high-level containment facilities in Beijing multiple times, notes Richard Ebright, a molecular biologist at Rutgers University. Tim Trevan, founder of CHROME Biosafety and Biosecurity Consulting, says that an open culture is important to keeping BSL-4 labs safe, and he questions how easy this will be in China, where society emphasizes hierarchy.” Dr. Ebright told ScienceInsider that the 2019-nCoV data are “consistent with entry into the human population as either a natural accident or a laboratory accident.” “The virus came into that marketplace before it came out of that marketplace." (This lab is 280 meters from the Wuhan wet market) 2/16/2020 - “Biosafety guideline issued to fix chronic management loopholes at virus labs”. Source: Global Times - (China’s) “Ministry of Science and Technology issued new rules over the weekend, requiring laboratories nationwide to boost their biosafety in a move that experts said could fix chronic inadequate management issues during the campaign against the coronavirus.