On the surface, economists at the International Monetary Fund and most banks are still estimating China’s growth rate to be over 9 percent this year. China continues to run very large trade surpluses. New construction starts have soared with a government campaign to provide more affordable housing.
And yet, the country’s huge manufacturing sector is starting to slow and orders are weakening, especially for exports. The real estate bubble is starting to spring leaks, even as inflation remains stubbornly high for consumers ”” despite a series of interest rate increases and ever-tighter limits on bank lending.
Because China’s mighty growth engine has been one of the few drivers of the global economy since the financial crisis of 2008, signs of deceleration could add to worries about the global outlook.