China Just Showed How Much the World Needs It

China Just Showed How Much the World Needs It

Strong finish to the year comes as recoveries in the U.S., Japan and Germany show signs of faltering.

The world needs China more than ever. Thank goodness it’s showing up: Economic data released Tuesday all looked strong and in line with forecasts. The upbeat projections for a strong global rebound in 2021 depend on Beijing maintaining this momentum. 

Most of the traffic from other consequential economies is going the wrong way, owing to restrictions aimed at suppressing the current wave of Covid-19 infections. There’s a prospect of double-dip recessions in Germany and Japan, and the U.S. rebound has been losing steam. With big question marks over three of the four biggest commercial powers, China is the indispensable player. 

Chinamay be the only major economy to notch any growth at all this year. The new data showed industrial output climbed 7% in November from the previous year, and retail sales advanced. Fixed-asset investment increased 2.6% in the first 11 months of 2020, compared with the same period in 2019. These numbers all matched economists’ forecasts; that does nothing to detract from their importance. The solid 5% rise in retail sales from a year ago is particularly encouraging, given consumers came late to the recovery that began in the second quarter.