Any time the official New China News Agency files a piece with the headline: "Experts: China's economy has ability to recover from slowdown," it's time to worry about China's economy. You've already heard the news, no doubt.
Five straight quarters of slower growth. China's National Bureau of Statistics announced this week that the nation's economy grew at an annual rate of 9 percent in the quarter ending Sept. 30, the lowest since 2003 -- when the SARS epidemic turned the economy upside down. Exports are shrinking so fast that some economists are predicting the sector will not grow at all next year.
More ominously for "social stability," however, are the lay-offs. More than half of China's 7,000 plus toy makers are out of business. More than 67,000 small- and medium-sized enterprises have gone belly up in the first nine months of this year, according to a report in the China Business News this week. There are an increasing number of reports about labor unrest among those turfed out of work.
Obviously, China, too, will put together a stimulus package. More investment in infrastructure, lower interest rates. China just lowered taxes and mortgage interest rates on real estate purchases, which should (again) stoke its on-again-off-again housing market. But it's clear that China won't escape economic tough times.