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Experts see signs of recovery in economy

Steps to boost demand, fix structural issues, foster new forces seen as key

By OUYANG SHIJIA in Boao, Hainan | China Daily | Updated: 2024-03-29 07:44
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Participants discuss the outlook for the Chinese economy during the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2024 in Boao, Hainan province, on Thursday. FENG YONGBIN/CHINA DAILY

China's economy is showing signs of steady recovery with effective measures to boost domestic demand and tackle structural issues, participants attending the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2024 said on Thursday.

Looking ahead, they said boosting consumption and fostering new quality productive forces will be among key priorities for the country to support high-quality development and sustainable growth.

Citing some key economic indicators in the first two months of the year, Ben Simpfendorfer, a partner at consultancy Oliver Wyman, said the "Chinese economy is stabilizing", and he still sees some positive factors driving China's economic recovery this year.

"I think the exports are the primary positive factor," he told China Daily in an exclusive interview on Thursday. "The global economic outlook looks more promising. And the US economy appears on course to a soft landing."

He also said a cause for concern in the current environment is the ongoing correction in real estate. It is quite important to stimulate stronger consumption this year. "So, I think to see a stronger recovery this year, we need to see consumer spending accelerate."

Chinese policymakers, he said, have options to increase fiscal spending in fields like health, education and maternity care, providing more support to consumers, especially low-income families. "That might provide them with greater certainty in their household finances and greater confidence to start to spend more on other types of goods and services."

Erik Berglof, chief economist of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, said he believes China needs to create clear conditions and rules on how the private sector can contribute to efforts to bolster the world's second-largest economy.

"It needs to focus on innovation and try to bring new ideas and new ways of organizing things," he said. "I think China will remain an important contributor to global growth for the foreseeable future, but it will require more efforts from the government side."

Steven Barnett, senior resident representative of the International Monetary Fund in China, said China has become the world's largest economy in terms of GDP in purchasing power parity terms, and the country's economy contributes to around one-third of the global economic growth.

He told a forum during the ongoing four-day event in Boao, Hainan province, that China's robust economic growth will significantly benefit the rest of the world.

Over the next few years, fostering new quality productive forces and keeping spending high will be key to boosting China's long-term growth — and consolidated efforts to boost consumption will also help improve people's livelihoods, he said.

Although the property sector may continue to be a drag on China's economic growth, the structural adjustment in the sector will foster a healthy and better future for the sector's development, which will benefit the country's long-term development, said Zhu Min, vice-chairman of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges.

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