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Lunchtime Must-Read: Gavyn Davies: China’s Slowdown Is Secular, Not Cyclical

Gavyn Davies: China’s Slowdown Is Secular, Not Cyclical: Is China bouncing back from a weak patch of growth...

...or is it headed for a prolonged slowdown lasting many years?... Both are probably true. Cyclical fluctuations are occurring around a clearly slowing long-term trend.... Until 2011, mainstream economic forecasters... believed that the trend growth rate in China would remain in the 9-10 per cent region for as far ahead as the eye could see. Now almost no one thinks that.... The Conference Board forecast this week that trend growth after 2020 would be only 4 per cent a year...

I cannot help but be much more optimistic about the future of China's growth. There is not just mean reversion in growth rates. There ought to be mean reversion--convergence--in prosperity levels as well: once a country figures out how to get the engine of technological adaptation and market production and consumption going it ought to quickly become much much richer than China is now. It is true that Barry Eichengreen finds some statistical evidence of a "middle-income trap", but without stronger underpinnings I am tempted to dismiss that as a statistical phantom.