Thursday

29th Sep 2016

Focus

China slowdown is bad news for Europe

  • "Chinese factories are filled with European equipment" (Photo: Daniel Foster)

China's economy so far this year grew slower than ever in the last three years, spelling bad news for its biggest trading partner, the European Union.

The second-biggest economy in the world grew by a mere 8.1 percent on a one-year-basis during the first quarter of 2012, the country's national statistics bureau announced on Friday (13 April), down from 8.9 percent during the last quarter of 2011 and "significantly lower than expected," Maarten-Jan Bakkum, emerging market analyst at ING, told EUobserver.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Faced with a fragile global recovery and hesitant demand, China's famously export-driven economy has been abating for several years now. Early last month, the country's leadership lowered its 2012 growth target to 7.5 percent, down from 8 percent last year.

The new numbers, however disappointing, are still high and relatively stable. By comparison, the EU's economy grew by only 1.5 percent last year and is expected not to grind to a halt this year, while the eurozone is already in recession.

For the long term, then, these figures may not be of much significance. China is widely believed to remain a strong driver of global economic growth as its billion-strong population begins to buy products on the world market.

"We believe the economy will continue to maintain a moderately steady growth in the future," Sheng Laiyun, a spokesman for the national statistics bureau, told state press agency Xinhua.

But for the short term, experts say, the numbers are bad news for Europe, whose economy is closely interlinked with that of China. They not only confirm Europe's own fragile recovery as it imports less from China, but also indicate a future withering demand for European products.

"The news is very relevant for Europe," says Bakkum. "The little amount of good news coming from Europe comes from Germany, which is highly dependent on the export to China."

Europe's main export product group are machinery and transport equipment. "All factories in China are filled with European equipment," says Bakkum. A slump in production in China, then, would result in a slump in demand from Europe.

The European Commission, for its part, refused to comment. "We don't comment every time there is a new statistic," Olivier Bailly, a commission spokesman, told reporters in Brussels.

EU commission presents 'realistic' lobbying rules

The EU executive called for more stringent regulation of interest representatives trying to influence EU decision making. Critics say the 'transparency revolution' is being blocked by the European Parliament and EU member states.

New EU rules on financial products in limbo

A feud between MEPs and the EU commission is threatening to derail financial services regulation that would protect consumers from misleading investment products.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceWhy the Investment Plan for Europe Does not Drive the Sustainable Energy Transition
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region Seeks to Make Its Voice Heard in the World
  3. Taipei EU OfficeCountries Voice Support for Taiwan's Participation in ICAO
  4. World VisionNew Tool Measuring Government Efforts to Protect Children Released
  5. GoogleDid You Know Europe's Largest Dinosaur Gallery Is in Brussels? Check It Out Now
  6. IPHRHuman Rights in Uzbekistan After Karimov - Joint Statement
  7. CISPECloud Infrastructure Providers Unveil Data Protection Code of Conduct
  8. EFAMessages of Hope From the Basque Country and Galicia
  9. Access NowDigital Rights Heroes and Villains. See Who Protects Your Rights, Who Wants to Take Them Away
  10. EJCAppalled by Recommendation to Remove Hamas From EU Terrorism Watch List
  11. GoogleBringing Education to Refugees in Lebanon With the Clooney Foundation for Justice
  12. Belgrade Security ForumCan Democracy Survive Global Disorder?