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2012年7月15日 (日)

中国GDP 景気失速を食い止める対策を

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jul. 15, 2012)
China must try to halt economic slowdown
中国GDP 景気失速を食い止める対策を(7月14日付・読売社説)

Spillover effects of the European debt crisis have become a drag on the Chinese economy, an engine of world growth.

China's slowdown could deal a serious blow to already gloomy prospects for the world economy. Measures to halt the slowdown are needed.

The Chinese government has announced the country's real gross domestic product grew 7.6 percent in the April-June period over a year earlier, falling below 8 percent for the first time in about three years. The country's growth slowed for a sixth straight quarter.

Eight percent growth is regarded as the minimum needed for China to maintain its economic activity and employment levels. China's stagnating growth since the so-called Lehman Shock in 2008 has been significant.

The economic weakness is mainly due to the slowdown in exports to Europe and other countries amid the lingering European debt woes. A slump in public investment and corporate capital spending has sent the country's manufacturing activity into decline. Consumer spending has also lost impetus. These three areas--exports, manufacturing and consumer spending--all slowed together.


Steps to shore up economy

Last week, China's central bank lowered key interest rates for two consecutive months. Before announcing the GDP numbers Friday, China apparently aimed to reduce the news' negative impact on the economy by slashing the rates.

Beijing has taken a series of steps to shore up the economy, such as introducing an incentive program for buyers of energy-saving home electronic appliances and eco-friendly vehicles and bringing future infrastructure investment plans forward.

The Chinese government has lowered the country's growth outlook for this year from 8 percent to 7.5 percent. It must be wary now that its economy has begun to cool at a pace faster than it anticipated.

China plans to change its top leadership this autumn. Even though China cannot achieve high growth at a rate of more than 10 percent as it once did, moderate growth must be secured to enable the leadership transition to go smoothly.

However, China's economic prospects are unclear.

The debt crisis in Europe, China's major export destination, has yet to be resolved, while the U.S. economy has seen signs of slowdown. Alarmed by the current situation, the International Monetary Fund next week reportedly plans to lower its forecast for global economic growth.


Boost domestic demand

To achieve stable growth, China urgently needs to shift its economy to one led by domestic demand that will allow it not to depend excessively on exports. For that purpose, the country should spend more on environmental measures and infrastructure projects, such as development of subway systems.

As commodity prices have been steady, China also has room to take additional monetary easing measures. Steering the economy in the right direction is difficult, but we urge Beijing to consider effective measures as soon as possible.

Brazil, India and South Korea have cut key interest rates one after another. Moves to ease monetary policy have gained momentum in the world.

Meanwhile, it is of concern that there is no sign that the extreme strength of the yen will end soon, in light of a spate of rate cuts and the sluggishness of the U.S. and European economies. It is vital for both the government and the Bank of Japan to better respond to the situation by trying foreign exchange intervention and other possible measures.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 14, 2012)
(2012年7月14日01時15分  読売新聞)


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