China is expected to overtake the US as the world’s largest importer within five years, a leading investment firm said here today. China, the world’s second largest economy, is now the world’s largest exporter and the second largest importer.
In 10 years, imports of China grew at an average of six percentage points, higher than that of the United States.
If that growth gap remains in 2018 and moderates by 0.15 percentage points in each of the following years in a baseline scenario, the country will become the world’s largest importer by 2022, according to a report released by China International Capital Corporation (CICC).
By a more conservative estimate, China will become the top importer by 2025, state-run Xinhua quoted CICC as saying.
As the domestic economy has stabilised and global commodity prices have recovered, imports in the first 10 months of 2017 rose 21.5 per cent year on year in China, official data showed.
China’s rising imports have a significant global impact, as it is the largest importer for 41 countries and regions, compared with 36 for the US, the report said.
With imports likely to continue to outpace exports in the coming few years, China’s foreign trade will become more balanced as it has been in the past two years, it said.
CICC predicts the trade surplus in goods and services will account for around one per cent of the GDP in 2017, the lowest level since 1994.
China is also expected to become the world’s largest consumer market and start importing more consumer-related products than industrial materials, as its growth becomes increasingly consumer driven.
“In our view, the rise of Chinese consumers, with its significant positive spill over effect on the rest of the world, will be the most important and exciting investment story in the coming years,” the report added.