In May 2016, the People’s Daily, the mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist party, published a long piece excoriating China’s economic model. In the course of an expansive discussion about the dangers of debt-fuelled growth — captured in the memorable warning that “trees cannot grow to the sky” — the author suggested that China’s economic slowdown was here to stay.

This was striking, particularly because the piece was published during a housing boom unleashed by a government that had once again resorted to stimulus to boost the economy, this time to counter 2015’s disastrous stock market bubble and botched currency devaluation.

Don’t blame the trade war

More pressure in store

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