James Moore: The Chinese economic dragon roars

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The Independent Online

Outlook While the rest of the world remains mired in economic gloom, the Chinese dragon is roaring again. Figures on its economic growth always have to be viewed with a certain amount of scepticism.

Nonetheless, whether it is expanding at the published 7.9 per cent or something rather less stellar, the Chinese economy is certainly growing while most of the world is not. In the chancelleries of the West they will be fervently hoping that some of its flames will help to ignite their own spluttering economies.

It is clear that, for the moment, China's enormous economic stimulus package is working. The jury is still out on most of the others.

Of course, this is the advantage of central control. Alistair Darling can call the banks in as often as he likes, but in reality all he can do is wag his fingers at them.

Supposedly there was a deal done whereby they would start lending in return for the Government setting up its Asset Guarantee Scheme, which covers them against defaults on huge swathes of dodgy loans. But the agreement is obviously working better in principle than in practice, and it appears that there is not much Number 11 can do about it.

In China, there's no need to call anyone in. Hu Jintao only needs to suggest that perhaps it might be a good idea to turn on the taps and hundreds of state bank bosses will be falling over themselves to lend to all-comers. As Communist Party members, their careers depend on it.

What the long-term consequences of this splurge will be is anyone's guess. The doomsayers who keep predicting an end to the Chinese miracle have been proved wrong again and again. For all our sakes, it is to be hoped that this continues.

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