It is hard to exaggerate the Chinese economy’s far-reaching impact on the world, from small towns to big markets. It accounted for about 46% of global coal consumption in 2009, according to the World Coal Institute, an industry body, and consumes a similar share of the world’s zinc and aluminium. In 2009 it got through twice as much crude steel as the European Union, America and Japan combined. It bought more cars than America last year and this year looks set to buy more mobile phones than the rest of the world put together, according to China First Capital, an investment bank.
In China growth of 9.6% (recorded in the year to the third quarter) represents a slowdown. China will account for almost a fifth of world growth this year, according to the IMF; at purchasing-power parity, it will account for just over a quarter.
China is now the biggest export market for countries as far afield as Brazil (accounting for 12.5% of Brazilian exports in 2009), South Africa (10.3%), Japan (18.9%) and Australia (21.8%). But exports are only one component of GDP. In most economies of any size, domestic spending matters more. Thus exports to China are only 3.4% of GDP in Australia, 2.2% in Japan, 2% in South Africa and 1.2% in Brazil (see map).
According to their estimates, if China’s growth quickened by 1 percentage point for a year, it would boost the rest of the world’s GDP by 0.4% (about $290 billion) after five years.I think it is funny that thirty years ago nobody foresaw the rise of China. It is like in 1960 nobody foresaw the collapse of Japan into its now decades long recession. And I can guess that in 1990 nobody foresaw the US shooting itself in the foot by electing Bush who set the US up for collapse. History is an ironic study of "surprises" that nobody expects.
Since the crisis, China has shown that its economy can grow even when America’s shrinks.