"The Chinese economy has already put the worst behind it and seems to be in a powerful upsurge," the chief economist of one of the world's largest insurance group told journalists in Beijing on Monday.
Doctor Michael Heise, Chief Economist of Allianz Group, told a press conference that China is one of the few positive factors that, together with India, keeps Asia positive against the backdrop of global recession, and helps to prevent a further global downturn.
The German economist is on an Asian lecture tour, talking about the challenges and opportunities for Asia in the wake of the crisis.
He said China had moved to internal growth in the past few months, which proved effective, but persistently sluggish export demand for months to come is likely to act as a major curb.
He said Allianz doesn't expect the credit-driven growth in domestic demand in China to be sustained for long - the government's fear of a lending glut jeopardizing the stability of the financial system will presumably put paid to that.
For China in 2009, Allianz forecasts real economic growth to be6.5 percent. What is striking about the current situation in Asia is the very marked gap in performance between the individual countries. While many factors are involved, countries with a large and robust domestic market will see a marked slowdown in growth this year, but they will be spared the economic contraction, according to Heise.
"As world trade stabilizes in the second half of 2009, we expect the economy to pick up across the region," he said. Given the dramatic slide in U.S. imports, the Asian growth model is set to change. Export momentum will be lower than before the crisis and trade surpluses will decline.
In order to achieve strong growth in the future, the Asian emerging markets are rightly attempting to bolster domestic demand in the medium term, Heise said. "We predict Asia's GDP growth rate at 2.7 percent in 2009, but this economic downturn will soon be behind us."
Allianz Group has its headquarters in Munich in Germany and is the largest insurance group in Europe, and one of the leading insurance and financial service providers in the world. Allianz set up offices in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou from 1994 on.