China, the second largest economy of the world, was expanding at a quarterly rate of 6.5 per cent in November last year when the United Kingdom was going into a second lockdown and its economy was contracting.
Recent data has shown that the Chinese economy is set to achieve an annual growth rate of 2.3 per cent while all other major economies are set to contract.
The success of China could be accorded to the efforts of the Chinese government to prevent spread of the novel coronavirus and the economic impact of the pandemic.
However the ability of the Chinese government to keep the pandemic in check and its economy growing will be put to a stiff test during the week-long new year public holiday from 11 February.
In order to keep the spread of Covid-19 infections under control, many hundreds of millions of people who conventionally travel for visiting relatives have been by government officials to stay back at home. This year China is to celebrate the year of the ox.
The claim of Chinese president Xi Jinping’s claim that the pandemic was completely conquered last year and the allegations that the Western countries were the ones that had mishandled events that had led to the spread of the second wave of the pandemic were dented after the spiraling of a host of cases in the Hebei province close to Beijing.
One of the precautions that Xi is depending upon is the testing of rural migrants prior to going back home during the new year. The Chinese government is also depending on the ability of local officials being able to deal with isolated outbreaks of the disease through a combination of threats and some compensation payments.
The travelling during this year’s new year is expected to be about 40 per cent lower than in 2019, said the ministry of transport od China. However the number will still be in millions who will be using public transport in a short span of time.
There will be close watch on whether it would be possible for China to prevent a full fledged new outbreak of Covid-19 going into March, said China expert Diana Choyleva of forecaster Enodo Economics.
“Xi has boxed himself in. A second lockdown would undermine the narrative that the virus is already beaten. And he can’t lock down again without ruining a second year of celebrations and possibly the 100th anniversary of the Chinese communist party in July. That would not just be a blow to the party, it would slow the economic recovery as well.”
And despite a downturn in travel, a growth rate of 10 per cent has been predicted for the Chinese economy for the current year by the consultancy Capital Economics. “The hit to consumption and services should be mostly offset by factories being able to put more staff to work over the holiday than usual,” says senior China economist Julian Evans-Pritchard.
(Adapted from MSN.com)