China is, as everyone knows, growing quite rapidly, even if its growth rate has slowed recently – and even if the official numbers have been ‘massaged’ a bit.
Niels Jensen, economist and chief investment officer of Absolute Return Partners, believes China is not that important ...yet – neither to global GDP growth, nor to growth in Europe or North America. "China accounts for ‘only’ 13% of global GDP, still light years away from the three largest economic blocks – EM ex. China (26%), the EU (24%) and the United States (23%)", he says.
"In addition to that, 80% of the U.S. workforce now provides services, and the EU is not far behind on that account. A slowdown in China has little, if any, impact on most service sectors which, by their nature, are domestically focused."
It goes without saying that a slowdown in China will have some meaningful impact on its neighbouring countries, on countries that export a lot to China (e.g. Germany), and on commodity producing countries such as Australia and Canada. "However, to suggest that China is now the main factor behind global GDP growth is a gross exaggeration," argues Mr Jensen
European policy makers have signaled concern about the continent’s economic prospects, suggesting outside factors such as China’s weakening economy could hold back growth.