Opinion: The Stimulus Package

The Seattle Times sees China’s plan to pump billions into infrastructure projects at home as a plus for U.S. businesses, who might find new export opportunities in China — for turbines and earthmovers, for example. They also see the move as a harbinger of a new era in which China may move into the “driver’s seat” among global economic powers:

International economist Fred Bergsten describes China as the No. 1 driver of the world economy. As the 20 largest economies on the planet gather in Washington, D.C., this weekend, everyone will watch to see if China edges into the driver’s seat.

But Jonathan Fenby, in The Times (London), says, “Don’t count on China to save the world.
Beijing’s £375bn economic package makes it a world player. But its own interests will come first.” Moreover, he adds, China isn’t looking to take over a leadership role in the global economy:

The father of China’s economic reform, Deng Xiaoping, always advised his country to advance cautiously and with as little noise as possible. China does not want a global leadership role. It prefers to let others make the running, probably looking to President Sarkozy as its chosen baton carrier after his talks with Hu in Beijing last month. Its prime concern is to boost the domestic economy, not bail out the world. That, it insists, is its best contribution to the world crisis.

After announcing the stimulus package on Sunday, rallied and the price of oil jumped. But on Tuesday, oil dropped again, falling below $60 a barrel. On Wednesday China shares opened 1.3 percent lower.