Once Sizzling, China’s Economy Shows Rapid Signs of Fizzling

Despite early predictions that China may be insulated against the global financial crisis, the New York Times is now reporting that the economy there is in worse shape than previously thought, in part because of a sharp decline in Christmas orders from the U.S. and Europe:

Just as China attained supercharged growth that astounded much of the world, it appears to be slowing more sharply and more quickly than anyone anticipated.

“It’s tough to be optimistic,” said Stephen Green, an economist at Standard Chartered Bank in Shanghai. “The three engines of growth — , investment and consumption — have all slowed down.”

The signs are so troubling that last week Prime Minister Wen Jiabao warned that this year would be “the worst in recent years for our economic development.

[…] But newly released data suggests that nearly every sector of the economy is slowing and credit is tightening in a nation that has grown accustomed to sizzling hot growth.

While few economists expect China to fall into recession, analysts are forecasting the worst growth in more than a decade, with the economy expected to expand by as little as 5.8 percent in the fourth quarter this year, down from about 11 percent in 2007.

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