With equity markets in freefall, housing prices skipping downwards, foreign reserves plummetting, and industrial production on a roadtrip back to the last decade, it's no surprise permabears like Gordan Chang are stocking up on popcorn to bask in what they see as the long-due collapse of the Chinese economy. It all raises the question of how bad things are going to get, which leads to the question of how bad they are right now.

Joining Kaiser, Jeremy and David in the studio today to talk about the Chinese economy and its recent tailspin is none other than Tom Orlik, an economist at Bloomberg and author of the book Understanding China's Economic Indicators. Tom has years of experience writing about China and joins to share his thoughts on what parts of the economy are doing decently and where the real problems lie. We hope you love the show. [standalone mp3 file]

 said on
January 25, 2016
Great conversation! A few niggles:

1. China's economy isn't slowing down, it's speeding up. Its rate of acceleration is around 7% and will continue in the range for at least another decade.

2. China's economy is growing faster than ever. A decade ago, in the good ol' days of frantic 10% acceleration, it added $500 billion to GDP. Last year it added $1 trillion (PPP) and will become the first $20 trillion economy on earth by the end of this year.

3. China's economy is not – and never was – 'export led'. It has always been a domestically-led economy. Germany is an example of an export-led economy, with 44% of its GDP exported. China exports less than half that.

4. A few data points on China's domestic, services-led economy might help put this in perspective:

– Personal consumption in China has been growing around 10 percent per year for more than a decade, the highest rate in the world by far, multiple times faster than developed countries and twice the rate of other middle-income economies. http://thediplomat.com/2015/09/is-the-china-growth-model-dead/.

– Yunnan Province 2015 Report gives an provincial-level view of inland growth: http://www.gokunming.com/en/blog/item/3665/yunnan_chasing_beijing_gdp_targets

– In the year to November 2015 China imported 8.9% more oil, year on year, to 6.6 million barrels a day to become the world’s largest oil importer. http://www.platts.com/latest-news/oil/singapore/chinas-oct-crude-oil-imports-rise-94-on-year-26271128

– China’s smartphone market saw record 2015 sales of 460.5 million units. Apple's sales rose 90%.
 said on
January 25, 2016
Jeremy Goldkorn

A People’s Friendship James Palmer

<a href="http://www.chinafile.com/reporting-opinion/postcard/peoples-friendship">http://www.chinafile.com/reporting-opinion/postcard/peoples-friendship</a>

David Moser

Billionaires Darrel M West

<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Billionaires-Reflections-Darrell-M-West/dp/0815725965">http://www.amazon.com/Billionaires-Reflections-Darrell-M-West/dp/0815725965</a>

New Koch Jane Mayer

<a href="http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/01/25/new-koch">http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/01/25/new-koch</a>

Tom Orlik

Outside Over there Maurice Sendak

<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Outside-Over-There-Caldecott-Collection/dp/0064431851">http://www.amazon.com/Outside-Over-There-Caldecott-Collection/dp/0064431851</a>

The Adventures of Augie March

<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Adventures-Augie-March-Penguin-Classics/dp/0143039571">http://www.amazon.com/Adventures-Augie-March-Penguin-Classics/dp/0143039571</a>

Kaiser Kuo

Mass Flourishing Edmund Phelps

<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Mass-Flourishing-Grassroots-Innovation-Challenge/dp/0691165793/">http://www.amazon.com/Mass-Flourishing-Grassroots-Innovation-Challenge/dp/0691165793/</a>

Mark Lesson Studied