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Positive outlook for Chinese economy in 2023: New Development Bank VP

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Maasdorp expects robust growth of the Chinese economy driven by consumption in the second half of this year, despite a possible “bumpy period” in the first two quarters.

The Chinese economy is heading for strong growth in 2023, Vice President of the New Development Bank (NDB) Leslie Maasdorp said at the ongoing World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland on Tuesday.

Maasdorp said in an interview with Xinhua that China’s recent decision to lift COVID-19 restrictions will drive economic growth, which in turn will have a snowball effect on other aspects of the economy such as consumption.

Although he predicted a “bumpy period” in the first quarter of this year, and potentially in the second, there are strong expectations for robust growth driven by consumption in the second half of the year.

China’s optimization of COVID policies “will have a very positive impact both for China and for the world economy,” Maasdorp said. Many banks have already predicted that Chinese growth for 2023 will be much higher than originally projected.

Growing consumption and increased investor confidence will lead to a consumption rebound and stronger economic growth, Maasdorp said.

With an economy of about 18 trillion U.S. dollars, China has an important role to play in the recovery of the global economy, he added.

China’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew 3 percent year-on-year to a record high of 121.0207 trillion yuan (18 trillion U.S. dollars) in 2022, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed Tuesday.

As the second-largest economy in the world, Chinese growth also drives global growth.

“A recovery in Chinese consumption will have a very positive spin-off for the global economy,” Maasdorp said.

Growth areas in China include tourism and green industries, he said. “China is one of the largest investors in green energy, solar energy, wind energy, in battery storage. Those are high-growth sectors. And with new increased investment in those sectors, it will also contribute very positively to global growth.”

“Everybody recognizes that China has a very important role to play in the climate agenda,” he said.

Many economists have expressed hope that once Chinese companies resume manufacturing at pre-pandemic levels, trade flows will be stimulated and supply chains restored.

China also has a critical role to play in boosting multilateral cooperation, Maasdorp said.

“Without multilateral cooperation, you cannot really deal with challenges that are cross-national … I believe that the one positive lesson we can learn from COVID is that we are interconnected,” he said.

China’s successful eradication of absolute poverty is “one of the biggest achievements of humanity,” Maasdorp added.

The NDB, headquartered in Shanghai, is a lender established by the BRICS group of emerging nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) in 2015. It aims to become a global development bank, mobilizing resources for infrastructure and sustainable development.  

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