The great, long-awaited China rebalancing act may have already begun

Peking University finance professor Michael Pettis writes on his blog that the long-anticipated rebalancing of the Chinese economy may have already commenced.

Following the release of weak second quarter GDP growth rates for China indicating a year-on-year rise of 7.6% for the smallest gain since 2009, Pettis writes that during the past six months China may have already commenced the economic rebalancing process it so desperately needs, which would see the focus of growth shift from investment towards domestic consumption.

Pettis, who is often sternly critical of or frankly pessimistic about China’s economic policy, has consistently denied claims by analysts over the past four or five years that China’s economic rebalancing has begun on the grounds that such a transition is fundamentally incompatible with high GDP growth rates and low real interest rates.

The Wall Street veteran’s opinion has undergone a complete sea change following the release of the last slew of data:

This time seems different. Now for the first time I think maybe the long-awaited Chinese rebalancing may have finally started.

Although rebalancing of the Chinese economy should prevent it from encountering more acute problems down the road as well as increase the average citizen’s share of the Asian giant’s newfound prosperity, it could also have an adverse impact upon the global resources sector:

How does all this affect the world? In the short term rebalancing may increase the amount of global demand absorbed by China, but over the longer term it should reduce it. Rebalancing will inevitably result in falling prices for hard commodities, and so will hurt countries like Australia and Brazil that have gotten fat on Chinese overinvestment.

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