Maintaining the momentum
By Hisham Abu Bakr Metwally  ·  2024-02-06  ·   Source: NO.7-8 FEBRUARY 15, 2024

The World Bank has issued the World Economic Prospects report for 2024, which shows global GDP growth will not differ significantly from 2023. It estimates global GDP will grow 2.4 percent in 2024, down from 2.6 percent in 2023. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) expects a global growth rate of 2.7 percent for 2024, a decrease from the anticipated 2.9 percent growth in 2023.

Compared with the growing uncertainties in the global economy, the Chinese economy showed its resilience again as the country's 2023 GDP surpassed the estimated global rate of 3 percent and ranked top among major economies.

According to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on January 17, China's GDP grew 5.2 percent year on year in 2023, higher than the annual target of around 5 percent, reaching a record 126.06 trillion yuan ($17.71 trillion).

According to China's central bank, the People's Bank of China, if investment rises by 4 to 5 percent, consumption rises by 6 to 7 percent, and exports return to growth in 2024, China's annual GDP growth is expected to remain around 5 percent. China has room to increase support for the economy, given that the Central Government's debt burden is relatively low and consumer prices are also low.

China has taken measures to tackle the challenges of huge debt in the country's real estate market and declining consumer confidence, while continuing to upgrade industrial structure and improve the business environment.

The government is taking more measures to stimulate infrastructure projects to advance the economy this year. The real estate sector is expected to be more stable in 2024 and the government is expected to reduce interest rates to create further stability. The construction sector in China has been booming for more than 20 years and it is normal to have some time to digest that huge inventory. China has also lifted some restrictions on housing purchases, which will bring further balance to the sector.

China's growth is likely to disappoint pessimists, as we too expect the country to maintain a moderate growth rate of around 5 percent this year.

First, the manufacturing sector is set to expand on the back of improving real incomes globally, an easing energy crisis and the need to restore inventory levels after a long period of destocking. This factor will be supportive of the Chinese manufacturing sector, which is currently suffering from weak global demand, despite the ongoing recovery in the domestic economy.

Second, the process of recovery of the service sector in China has already begun. With more official support and financial as well as monetary incentives, this sector will be able to maintain its regular level of activity and perhaps even attract its own investment booms as well.

The world's second largest economy will also cultivate new consumption growth areas such as smart homes, recreation, tourism and sporting events.

It is expected that the effects of last year's treasury bond issuance, interest rate, tax and fee cuts and other policies will continue this year.

China will also continue to monitor its real estate market and meet the reasonable financing needs of its real estate companies. With the concerted efforts of all parties, the policy objectives of real estate risk prevention and market stabilization will be achieved.

China has shown signs of recovery as progress has been achieved in technological development and important advancements have been made in building a modern industrial system.

Last December, the country's annual Central Economic Work Conference set out priorities for 2024, including scientific and technological innovation, stronger demand, stability, rural development, integration and low-carbon and ecological investment.

China's new-energy vehicle and green energy industries have made strides while other sectors, such as semiconductors, have struggled to make headway.

China is the largest trading partner for more than 130 countries and it jumped from 34th place on the Global Innovation Index in 2012 to 11th place in 2022.

China is expected to maintain a growth target of around 5 percent for 2024, or raise it slightly. The target is the clearest expression of China's confidence in holding its current upward trajectory and remaining resilient amid continuing global headwinds.

The author is the first economist researcher at the Central Department for Export & Import Policy under the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Trade and Industry. This article was first published on the China Focus website

Copyedited by G.P. Wilson

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