Interview: Thai central bank governor upbeat about China's growth outlook

By Wang Yaguang (Xinhua) 13:24, July 19, 2022

BANGKOK, July 19 (Xinhua) -- The longer-term picture of the Chinese economy, which is "hugely important" for Thailand and the region, remains quite positive despite a slowdown driven by short-term factors, Thailand's central bank governor Sethaput Suthiwartnarueput has said.

Once disturbances from those short-term factors ease, "there's ample room for improved growth in China," and the Chinese authorities have sufficient policy space to address the downward pressures, Sethaput told Xinhua in an interview.

The Chinese economy expanded 2.5 percent in the first half of this year, and grew 0.4 percent year on year in the second quarter, data from China's National Bureau of Statistics showed Friday.

In the longer term, there is no doubt that the Chinese economy does face some structural headwinds, such as the demographics marked by slowing growth of labor force, which have been talked about by a lot of analysts, "but I think those have been overstated," Sethaput said.

China has made tremendous improvements on productivity and has been well-placed to take advantage of new growth drivers, such as the digital economy. "There are a lot of these productivity improvements which have the potential at least to offset the less favorable demographics," he said.

"You have fewer people, but if the people are more productive, then you can still grow," said the central bank governor, who once worked at the World Bank.

Regarding the two new driving factors of the world economy, namely the digital economy and sustainable developing mode, Sethaput said China is at the global forefront in both sectors and has a role to play.

Given China's important role in regional production networks, it could do a tremendous amount promoting sustainable economic growth in the region, he said.

The Asia-Pacific region is now challenged by a lot of uncertainties, and to address the challenges, it's important to be more open, strengthen economic integration, enhance trade and investment flows and connect the economies more closely, he said.

Sethaput said that the China-proposed Global Development Initiative, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and Belt and Road Initiative are all "excellent examples" of practices that help build connections and integrate economies, "I look forward to seeing continued progress in that area," he added. 

(Web editor: Peng Yukai, Hongyu)


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