Per capita incomes in China are rising though still low by advanced-nation levels. China ranks at 119 in terms of average incomes, according to World Bank data (per capita incomes, PPP adjusted). But China is now the biggest car market in the world and there has been a huge rise in the sales of luxury goods to China (these products have a strong income elasticity of demand).
China wants to achieve a re-balancing of her growth – towards domestic consumption and away from exports. Another key aim of the plans for the next 5 years is a surge in market-driven entrepreneurial activity. Plus a continued shift towards higher-value, high-knowledge manufactured products.read more...»
China has experienced fast growth in the last twenty years, in the last decade; the increase in Chinese GDP has been seven times the rise in the GDP of Japan. China has a new growth target of 8% pa for the next five years – a downgrading of growth but still way in excess of normal trend growth for any of the advanced economies such as the UK, Germany and the United States. In 2000, China’s accounted for 7.1% of the world’s total GDP (in PPP terms). By 2015 China will have a 19% share of global GDP. This is higher than any of the other BRIC nationsread more...»
This new five minute video report from the Financial Times is excellent on the competitive pressures facing many manufacturing businesses located in southern China. Wages are rising quickly and some manufacturing businesses have already moved either to lower-cost locations within the Chinese economy or to other countries such as Bangladesh and Indonesia.
But there are alternative approaches and this video emphasises the decision that some manufacturers have made to stay put but instead to move up the value chain and produce higher-end, higher-priced products for advanced western markets. Businesses are reluctant to move factories and sacrifice the human capital that has been accumulated over in some cases over thirty years.read more...»
What happened in the UK in 1851, the United States in 1920 and in the World in 2008? These three years mark the estimated year when the size of a given urban population overtook the size of the rural population. And now China has reached this significant landmark.
The Chinese Bureau for National Statistics reported recently that in 2011, the proportion of urban population reached 51.27 percent (1.3% higher than in 2010) with the urban population standing at 690.79 million persons, an increase of 21 million persons in a year. China’s rural population stood at 656.56 million persons and for the first time her urban population was 34.23 million persons more than the rural population.
Click below for some study / teaching resources:read more...»
Before you read this blog please have a look at another blog written by our good friend Mark Johnston from New Zealand. Students of China and the US economy will find it fascinating!
There are good grounds for no longer calling China an emerging economy - it has arrived! The multiple significance of the rapidly-growing Chinese economy is plain for all to see but for Britain, only a small percentage of our exports of goods and services go there and this must change if Britain is to fully engage with and benefit from the rising might of the Chinese consumer. This article from the Daily Mirror provides a non-technical but clear explanation of the growing purchasing power of newly wealth Chinese, thousands of whom are flocking to western shopping malls to buy premium brands. Chinese foreign exchange reserves are also being used to buy up real assets - last week we heard that a Chinese sovereign wealth fund is set to buy nearly 9% of Thames Water.read more...»
5 year plans are synonymous with the command economies of the 20th century and although the Chinese economy bares little resemblance to what it did 30 years ago, the government still uses these plans as part of their oversight of a mostly market economy. Their latest “Weather Intervention” plan seeks to intervene in the economy on a grand scale, although not in the usual sense!read more...»
Jim O’Neill the Chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management has a new book published early next week and it looks like being a tremendous resource for teachers and students wanting to deepen their understanding of crucial changes in the global economy. The Telegraph has been publishing extracts from the book - to have a view please click on the links below:read more...»
Pete Davies from Greenhead College attended a superb talk by Martin Wolf CBE (Financial Times) at Leeds Business School last week. The focus was on the Great Convergence between developed and emerging economies, and Peter kindly took some excellent notes from the talk which will be of great use to teachers and students covering this key globalisation / development topics. They can be downloaded below as a word file - many thanks to Peter for making them available through the blog!
At last night’s Senior Economics Society at Oundle we had a riveting talk by Hywel Rees-Jones, Managing Director of CDC, which covered so many areas of the issues of development economics. The talk was entitled “Can the invisible hand solve poverty in Africa?” Whilst conceding that some of the statements were broad generalisations across a variegated continent, Hywel discussed some of the key issues facing Africa.read more...»
The US senate has pushed through the bill which aims to punish China for allegedly undervaluing its currency. Is passed into law it would allow Washington to impose tariffs on imports in order to protect its domestic industries. The role and impacts of tariffs and other forms of protectionism form a big part of the ‘international trade’ section of most Economics courses and this article could be a good starting point for those discussions.
The U.S came closer to finally calling the Chinese a currency manipulator and retaliating in the new round of protectionism fears. A good summary of the key issues here.
Film-makers Marc Francis and Nick Francis won many plaudits and awards for their wonderful documentary Black Gold - uncovering the struggles of coffee farmers in Ethiopia to sustain their businesses against the monopsony power of multinational coffee roasters. They have a new film being released in the UK this autumn - When China met Africa. On the front line of China’s foray into Africa, the lives of a farmer, a road builder, and a trade minister reveal the expanding footprint of a rising global power. Watch the trailer using the link below.read more...»
Not all of the benefits of growth are evenly distributed. A rise in real GDP can often be accompanied by widening income and wealth inequality in society that is reflected in an increase in relative poverty.
“Although economic growth in China has created vast wealth for some, it has amplified the disparities between rich and poor. Although the average wealth per Chinese citizen was $17,126 - almost double that of other high growth economies such as India - median wealth was just $6,327. In 2010, China’s Gini-coefficient stood at 0.47. Inequality in China has now surpassed that in the United States.” Source: Dr Damian Tobin School of Oriental and African Studiesread more...»
This is a nice short clip explaining some basics of the economics of climate change and the impact that growth in Asia could have. Source supplied by my favourite economics blog at the moment Economists do it with models. Could be used to provoke discussion on externalities or impact of growth.
Bizarre example of comparative advantage in action here, where, because of a shortage of the right kind of wood in China, ”Georgia Chopsticks, based in the southern state of Georgia, is operating around the clock to meet the demand and hopes to be exporting 10 million pairs a day by the end of the year, each set complete with a label marked “Made in USA.””. Read more here or watch the video below. HT Carpe Diem.read more...»
A hat tip to Pete Davies for spotting this excellent example of capital replacing labour in FoxConn factories in China. With strong pressure for wages to rise further in Chinese manufacturing, FoxConn justify the decision on the grounds that their workers are better placed being shifted to jobs higher up the value chain.
Corn is a soft commodity along with the likes of coffee, tea and rubber. Referred to as “yellow gold”, corn is used in products ranging from cereals, snack foods, salad dressings, soft drink sweeteners, chewing gum and peanut butter. Little wonder that shifts in the world price of corn can have a noticeable effect on the prices that we may for many popular foods and drinks.
The world’s appetite for corn is strong. In recent months there has been a surge in the global price of corn, indeed at the end of June 2011, corn prices were up 74 per cent on a year earlier. Super-high prices affect the price of feed for livestock farmers and eventually lead to more expensive foodstuffs for consumers, including millions of people in the world’s poorest countries exposed to persistent and life-shortening food poverty. Robert Zoellick, President of the World Bank has said that high and volatile food prices are “the single gravest threat” facing developing countries at the current time.read more...»
China’s unit labour cost advantage in high-volume manufacturing is being eroded at a faster rate according to this feature piece from Time Magazine. “The average manufacturing wage in China is still only about $3.10 an hour, (compared with $22.30 in the U.S.), though in the eastern part of the country, it’s up to 50% more than that.” There are strong economic, social and political pressures for wages to rise and as they do this will have hugely significant demand and supply-side effects on their economy, for example accelerating the pressure for China to invest more in new technologies and product and process innovation to move higher up the value chain and become less dependent on supplying cheaper products to the rest of the world. My recent China Economics Revision Note focuses on some of these issues.
Geoff’s blog about ECON4 (see below) is fantastic advice, and I hope that my A2 students will spend much of the next 2 days working their way through it, checking they are secure in their knowledge of the topics he has identified, and can apply them to the context areas suggested there. If they have finished all that, and want yet more up-to-date evidence there is plenty in the news in the last few days.read more...»
In mainland China, authorities have put restrictions on property speculators to dampen the market, while in Hong Kong prices have risen by 70% in less than two years. But the 25% depreciation of sterling over the last two years makes the London property market a real draw for property investors from China. Sky News reports that one in three of buyers of new properties in London come from China and Hong Kong, mainly in the £400,000 - £1mn bracket, either seeking accommodation for their children studying in London or simply an investment. If - or when - the sterling/dollar exchange rate recovers, their return will be enhanced by the increased return they could get when they take their money out of the UK market again.read more...»
The BBC is running a special series of short reports on the chasm in wealth inequality in fast-growing China. One in a Billion looks at China’s new super rich. This set of video reports on Chinese development from Carrie Gracie (Nov 2010) is also worth looking at A portrait in miniature of China’s transformation
There is much focus on Chinese foreign direct investment in Africa and Latin America - China is also making huge investments in Australia as my friend Mark Johnston writes about in this blog. Here Euro News looks at investment in the European Union by Chinese owned businesses. New motorways in Poland ahead of the 2012 European Football Championships, co-financed by the EU, are being built by Chinese companies. The Chinese are also buying up public debt, in Greece, Spain and Portugal.
I am using economic developments in China as an anchor for my AS macro and A2 macro revision this week and next. We are also looking at developments in Germany and Spain as well to give revision a stronger European Focus. Last week I posted an eight page revision document on the Chine Effect - available here - and below I have brought together a set of recent video clips on the economics of China that have been used in the classroom as a prompt for discussion. I will add to them going forward as a reference point for teaching next term.read more...»
There has been much coverage in the last few days of the latest data on China’s population trends and in particular strong evidence about the ageing of her population. The demographic dividend of the fast population growth during the Mao era is well and truly over.
The annual growth of the Chinese population is falling away - the average annual growth was 0.57% over the last decade, down from 1.07% in 1990-2000. And when the age structure of the population is analysed, we find that the number of people over the age of 60 rose by about 48m, reaching 13.3 per cent of the population. China’s total population is now 1.339bn – up 5.84 per cent from the last decade. The number of old people in China has grown by more than the population of Spain over the last ten years and there is growing pressure for a reversal of the controversial one-child policy.read more...»
This is a new eight-page revision briefing note for students taking AS and A2 macroeconomics courses on developments in the Chinese economy and their impact on the UK and the wider global economy. Fans on our Facebook page voted for it and we will be adding some more revision briefings in the next week based on the votes and preferences on the page! What is happening in China and in China’s changing economic relationships around the world is and will continue to have a profound impact on the UK and European Economy - this revision briefing looks at some of these connections. Download it here in pdf formatread more...»
A few years back we talked of the China Effect - where the rapid transformation of the Chinese economy and the huge growth of high volume low labour-cost manufacturing was acting as a supply-side cause of lower prices in the world economy. A decade or more of this may be coming to an end as the Chinese economy risks experiencing several more years of higher inflation and slower economic growth.
This article from the Telegraph “China inflation threat underestimated” reports on research from economists at Legal & General Investment Management that pinpoints of some of the inflationary impulses in the Chinese economy - notably the surge in credit, higher food and other commodity prices and the rapid rise in wage costs in urban areas as cities find the pool of cheap labour from the countryside is not running behind demand and creating labour shortages. This piece from the Economist provides a super chart on what has happened to Chinese wage costs in recent times. China’s tricky wage dynamics Despite recent increases - wages in Chinese manufacturing in 2008 were still only about 4 per cent of those in the USA.
If the Chinese authorities are truly serious about controlling inflation we can expect further tightening of monetary policy in the coming months driving the Yuan higher and curbing the rate of growth of real GDP. China has a new growth target of 8% per annum. Might this prove to be an over-estimate if the over-heating economy enters a clear slowdown phase?
BBC News: China grew at a robust 9.7%, as inflation hits highs
Al Jazeera: China’s inflation continues to rise
Remittances are the sending of money to people in another country. Despite a recent dip because of the global recession, total remittance flows have grown in the world economy over the longer-term as the scale of migration between countries has grown. For many lower-income nations, remittance income is now a sizeable contribution to their Gross National Income (GNI) The World Bank estimates that there are over 250 million people living overseas who send some of their earned income back - remittances to all countries topped $305bn in 2008. The biggest single recipients of remittances are India, Mexico and China but measured as a share of national income is probably a better way of considering their relative importance. The World Bank calculated that in 2007, remittances as a share of GDP was particularly high in these countries:
Our Timetric charts provide some data background to the importance of remittances
There is a noticeable trend in the monthly trade balance! UK exports to China have grown over the years but the trade imbalance has widened enormously! According to former Business Secretary, Lord Mandelson UK exports to Brazil, Russia, India and China - the so-called ‘Bric countries’ - are lagging behind the rest of the world. The share of exports to the four BRIC nations remains persistently below our 3.7% share of world trade. Some economists point to an “export gap” worth £19.8bn with China, £3.2bn with India, and £1.8bn with both Russia and Brazil.
Dambisa Moyo’s talk at the RSA available here focuses on some of the long term structural problems facing Western Economies in general and the USA in particular. She argues that there are three crucial ingredients in economic growth - better capital, the quantity and quality of the workforce plus improvements in productivity
Two videos show the stark contrast between rail networks between China and India! Good for understanding a little more about the importance of rail network investment (high speed and conventional) as a platform for economic growth and development.