China at the forefront of the global economic recovery . . .
China’s GDP grew 4.9 per cent in Q3 (July-September) over the same period last year, according to national data released on Monday. This growth is slower than the 5.2 per cent that was predicted by economists for Q3, but significantly more than the country’s 3.2 per cent growth in Q2. China’s September trade figures are also promising, with exports growing by 9.9 per cent and imports by 13.2 per cent over September 2019. Despite this jump, some economists still have concerns – China has seen a substantial increase in overall debt in 2020, equal to approximately one-third of the economy’s total output. Some have also argued that China’s GDP growth this year is too export-dependent, with exports accounting for 17 per cent of China’s total economy.
How China controlled its outbreak . . .
China’s growth rates are impressive, especially when compared to other countries around the world. Canada’s GDP, for example, is expected to decline by 3.7 per cent this year. Experts credit China’s growth to the fact that it has kept COVID-19 under control. This is not only due to its early and strict lockdowns, but also its post-lockdown measures. The tracing system that was adopted includes cellphone tracking of the population, a colour-sorted 'health code' system, and mass testing. By comparison, Canada’s tracing system leaves something to be desired – for example, a recent study showed that only five per cent of people who tested positive for COVID-19 in Ontario reported it through Canada’s COVID alert app.
Increased growth, but unequal development . . .
A Financial Times report released this week stated that many Asian countries have managed to both control the outbreak and fare better economically. An IMF report released on Wednesday echoed this observation, stating it expects “multi-speed [economic] recovery” in the Asia Pacific region because many countries have successfully contained the virus. However, it is worth noting that not all economic forecasts for Asia are positive. In September, the World Bank released a report stating that poverty in the region “is projected to increase for the first time in 20 years” due to the pandemic. Despite promising economic data for some, there are still concerns about unequal economic development in the region overall.