新冠病毒会造成中国经济增长显著放缓吗?专家解读

  时间:2020-01-30 04:49 来源:网络整理 点击:

  原标题:新冠病毒会造成中国经济增长显著放缓吗?

  当下的新型冠状病毒肺炎疫情不禁让人联想起2003年的“非典”。中国股市在连续数月上涨后,近期出现回调,全球股市也随之下滑,这反映出疫情发生后,市场对中国经济乃至全球经济增长的消极情绪。这些担忧是否合理呢?

  亚洲开发银行前首席经济学家、美国哥伦比亚大学终身讲席教授魏尚进发文称,他的基本预测是,中国政府和世界卫生组织将在4月初宣布新型冠状病毒肺炎疫情得到控制。

  魏尚进认为,在这种情况下,他预计疫情对中国经济的负面影响十分有限,2020年中国GDP增速可能仅因此下降0.1%。虽然2020年第一季度中国GDP增速可能受疫情影响较大——年化增长率或降低1%,但剩余三个季度高于趋势线的增长率将大大抵消第一季度所受的影响。此外,他认为疫情对全球GDP增速的影响更加微乎其微。

  Editor‘s note: Shang-Jin Wei is a former chief economist at the Asian Development Bank, Professor of Finance and Economics at Columbia Business School and Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs。 The article reflects the author‘s views, and not necessarily those of CGTN。

  The panic generated by the new coronavirus, 2019-nCov, which originated in Wuhan, one of China‘s largest cities and a major domestic transport hub, reminds many of the fear and uncertainty at the peak of the 2003 SARS。 China’s stock market, after rising for months, has reversed itself in recent days, and global markets have followed suit, apparently reflecting concerns about the coronavirus‘s impact on the Chinese economy and global growth。 Are these worries justified?

  My baseline projection is that the coronavirus outbreak will get worse before it gets better, with infections and deaths possibly peaking in the second or third week of February。 But I expect that both the Chinese authorities and the World Health Organization will declare the coronavirus outbreak to be under control by early April。

  Under this baseline scenario, my best estimate is that the virus will have only a limited negative economic impact。 Its effect on Chinese GDP growth rate in 2020 is likely to be small, perhaps a decline on the order of 0.1 percentage point。 The effect in the first quarter of 2020 will be big, perhaps lowering growth by one percentage point on an annualized basis, but this will be substantially offset by above-trend growth during the rest of the year。 The impact on world GDP growth will be even smaller。

  Such a prediction recalls the experience of the 2003 SARS crisis: a big decline in China‘s GDP growth in the second quarter of that year was then largely offset by higher growth in the subsequent two quarters。 While the full-year growth rate in 2003 was about 10 percent, many investment banks’ economists over-predicted the epidemic‘s negative impact on growth。 Looking at annual real GDP growth rates from 2000 to 2006, it is very hard to see a SARS effect in the data。

  Some fear that the timing of the outbreak – at the start of the week-long Chinese New Year celebration, and in the middle of traditional school-break travels – will exacerbate the economic fallout by keeping many people away from shops, restaurants, and travel hubs。 But three important factors may limit the virus‘ impact。

  Medical staff from Shanghai attend a medical training in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, January 25, 2020。 /Xinhua Photo

  First, in contrast to the SARS outbreak, China is now in the internet commerce age, with consumers increasingly doing their shopping online。 Much of the reduction in offline sales owing to the virus will likely be offset by an increase in online purchases。 And most of the vacations canceled today will probably be replaced by future trips, because better-off households have already set aside a holiday travel budget。

  Many factories have scheduled production stoppages during the Chinese New Year holidays anyway, so the timing of the outbreak may minimize the need for further shutdowns。 Similarly, many government offices and schools had planned holiday closures independently of the virus outbreak。 

  The government has just announced an extension of the holiday period, but many companies will find ways to make up the lost time later in the year。 The short-term negative impact is thus likely to be concentrated among restaurants, hotels, and airlines。

  Second, all reports indicate that the Wuhan coronavirus is less deadly than SARS (although it may have a faster rate of transmission initially)。 Equally important, the Chinese authorities have been much swifter than they were during the SARS episode in moving from controlling information to controlling the spread of the virus。 

  By implementing aggressive measures to isolate actual and potential patients from the rest of the population, the authorities have improved their chances of containing the outbreak much sooner。 That, in turn, increases the likelihood that the lost economic output this quarter will be offset by increased activity in the remainder of the year。

  Third, whether or not China‘s trade negotiators realized the severity of the Wuhan virus when they signed the phase one trade deal with the United States on January 15, the timing of the agreement has turned out to be fortunate。 By greatly increasing its imports of masks and medical supplies from the U.S。 (and elsewhere), China can simultaneously tackle the health crisis and fulfill its promise under the deal to import more goods。

 

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