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Economic center of gravity shifting


In a recent survey by HSBC Holdings, 28 percent of around 10,400 enterprises in 39 countries listed the United States as their top trading partner, while 29 percent listed China.

The survey also indicated that China may have overtaken the US as the largest overseas market for Asia-Pacific companies. Given that the survey was conducted between Sept 11 and Oct 7, when the novel coronavirus was still raging and having huge economic and social impacts, it reflects the market’s perception of the world’s economic center of gravity shifting to China-centered East Asia following the pandemic. That’s one of the most profound changes the world has seen in a century.

The Asian Development Bank forecast on June 18 that developing Asian economies would grow by 0.1 percent in 2020 and East Asian economies by 1.3 percent, making it the only sub-region likely to see positive growth this year.

The International Monetary Fund forecast in October that global output would shrink by 4.4 percent this year, while China would still see 1.9 percent growth. China is expected to be the only major economy seeing positive economic growth, contributing around 30 percent to global growth for a long time to come.

Despite US protectionism and the impact of the pandemic, economic and trade cooperation in East Asia has maintained sound momentum.

In the first three quarters of 2020, China’s imports and exports hit record highs, with the total volume reaching 23.12 trillion yuan ($3.52 trillion), up 0.7 percent year-on-year. During the same period, the trade volume between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations reached $481.81 billion, up 5 percent year-on-year, making ASEAN China’s largest trading partner.

Data from the Ministry of Commerce show that in the first three quarters, China’s industry-wide direct investment in ASEAN countries reached $10.72 billion, up 76.6 percent year-on-year, and ASEAN’s actual investment in China was $5.47 billion, up 6.6 percent year-on-year.

The recently signed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, the world’s largest trade agreement, will not only encourage multinationals operating in the region not to move elsewhere, but also make it easier for multinationals from other regions to invest and do business in the region through a more liberal and open policy. And analysts believe the RCEP will drive long-term structural changes across the Asia-Pacific.

Although according to the survey, Asia’s advantages are not obvious, it is enough to indicate the world’s economic pattern is shifting to East Asia. Source: China Daily

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