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China’s Economic Growth Slows to Weakest In Decades

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1:43

China’s GDP expanded 3% in 2022, marking its slowest year of growth in close to five decades.

Full Video Transcript Below:

J.D. DURKIN: Overnight data from China showing the weakest full-year economic growth in over five decades. Martin, you see it there on your screen. Just how concerning is this?

MARTIN BACCARDAX: It's a really fascinating number. I mean, as you say, that 3% growth sort of objective for 2022 was well shy of the government's target of growth of around 5.5%. Now, those numbers are not simply ephemeral. I think there is always concern as to whether or not China is accurately measuring not only all of its economic metrics, but indeed its broader GDP numbers. But if they are willing to say the GDP is that South of the government's forecast, you can imagine, even if you do believe that number, it may actually be even less.

This is significant, J.D., because it relates to concern that the Chinese Communist Party has talked about for a number of years, quietly, in some instances and vocally in others, about the risk for public unrest as a result of weaker economic growth and rising unemployment. Now, we saw tiny slivers of that as a result of the protests linked to the COVID restrictions, which were quickly abandoned in November. But you simply can't have a country of this size managed effectively if economic growth is slowing and unemployment is rising, there's simply too much political and civil unrest to risk to manage, and as a result, I think this is why these numbers are so significant.

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