The Straits Times says

China's slowdown will be contagious

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Singaporeans have been warned to gird themselves for more economic headwinds ahead, caused in no small measure by the after-effects of Russia's war in Ukraine. To this might be added slower growth in China and its impact on global growth. China is in danger of missing its growth target this year of 5.5 per cent, beset as it is with Covid-19 lockdowns, pressures from its deleveraging - particularly in the property sector - and from regulatory crackdowns on Internet platform firms as well as the fallout from the Ukraine conflict. China's government is talking about giving living allowances to unemployed migrant workers - indicating significant layoffs and the seriousness of the repercussions of Covid-19 lockdowns on the economy. This is as Beijing pursues a zero-tolerance policy towards the pandemic. One private equity chief described the Chinese economy as being in its worst shape in 30 years.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has talked about spending more on infrastructure to stimulate the economy. But observers point out that the current stimulus looks to be bringing forward a backlog of projects rather than new initiatives. This is unlike the massive stimulus package in 2008 during the global financial crisis that put China quickly back on the growth path after a sharp but brief downturn. China's robust rebound at that time also helped many resource-rich countries avoid an economic downturn. Indeed, China's strong growth in the years after the financial crisis - and its resilience - was what stood between a weak post-crisis recovery for the world and a relapse into global recession.

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