China’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) represents the total value of all goods and services produced by the country and is presented in trillions of 2010 US dollars. Data is sourced from the World Bank and forecasts are based on OECD long term GDP growth projections.

With the world GDP growth rate around 3%, China remains an outlier especially among developed nations. The growth of China’s economy increased in 2010 to 10.6% but eased down to 9.5% in 2011 and 7.9% in 2012. This slowdown further continued in 2013, due to the recessions in the European Union and Japan, major trading partners with China. In 2015, China’s GDP growth decelerated further, growing an estimated 6.9% over the year. This trend is expected to continue through 2018 as China’s economy transitions from export-based growth toward more consumption based growth. According to the OECD, investments in infrastructure will be the largest driver of growth over 2018. China’s GDP is expected to grow 6.8% over 2018.

From 2018-2023, our expected compound annual growth rate for China GDP is 5.9%. It’s total GDP is expected to grow from $10.7 trillion to $18.11 trillion.

Performance over the Last Decade

Prior to the global financial crisis, China’s economy continued the robust growth it has experienced for the last few decades, growing 11.4% in 2005, 12.7% in 2006 and 14.2% in 2007. China’s strong growth has come mostly from the rapid industrialization of its manufacturing sector. China’s population (over 1.3 billion, the largest in the world) has allowed such huge gains to be made due to the massive available workforce. Even though the government imposed a one-child policy (for urban families) in 1979, the size of the population at that time (just under 1 billion) meant that even if every married couple only had one child, the total population would still continue to grow substantially. Recent growth was spurred by the reduced socialization of business following policy changes in the late 1990s and early 2000s, which caused foreign businesses to increasingly move their manufacturing to China to take advantage of the low wages and massive workforce found there. The foreign companies that manufacture in China often then ship the products back abroad, resulting in a large trade surplus in the country, which grew from only 1.9% of GDP in 2001 to 15.14% of GDP in 2008.

The 2008 global financial crisis and the subsequent recession slowed China’s growth somewhat, down to 9.7% in 2008 and 9.4% in 2009. Foreign trade took the most significant dip as China’s main trading partners, the United States and Europe, were hit hard by the recession. The government prevented a further decline by announcing a 4-trillion yuan ($586.0 billion) stimulus package in late 2008 to combat the falling world economy. Most of the stimulus will be used improve China’s infrastructure, including public transportation improvements, affordable housing construction and an overhaul of the country’s medical system. While these projects will not make up for the lost foreign trade, the investment in infrastructure will enable further domestic growth in the future when completed.

Outlook

China’s growth will continue at a slightly slower pace to the previous decade since their economy is maturing. China’s exports have exceeded its domestic consumption every year since 2005, and this is expected to continue into the foreseeable future. A continued real estate boom is also helping drive the Chinese economy as the emergent middle class looks to purchase homes and business look for office and retail space Over the five years to 2023, China’s GDP is expected to increase at an annualized rate of 5.9%.

Conclusion

The GDP of China exhibits a low level of volatility. It has been growing at a strong, yet steady pace over the past five years. GDP is a function of consumption by individuals, government consumption and investment, private investment, net exports (value of exports minus the value of imports) and change in inventories. These segments are susceptible to shocks from numerous sources including changes in the price of oil, interest rates, consumer sentiment, employment and wages, business confidence, house prices, stock prices and fiscal policy. Therefore, any large fluctuations in any of these components will affect the volatility of GDP.

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