The Chinese economy is slowing down. The last International Monetary Fund’s forecasts made in April indicate an expected GDP growth rate of about 6.5% this year (the smallest of the decade). China is facing a difficult transition phase that will lead to a more sustainable and consumption driven development model. A lower Chinese demand directly impacts the World trade dynamics, especially the commodity markets, with strong negative aftermath for those economies broadly linked to the Chinese demand.
Our estimations, summarised in the figure above, show that this impact will be actually stronger in the industrial commodity market than in the energy sector. This is the consequence of a huge resizing of the Chinese construction sector (meaning a much lower demand of iron, steal and copper). Construction investments have sustained the Chinese growth in the last decade but now China is trying to disconnect its economy from infrastructure and building development. In terms of economic growth, the Chinese slowing down will impact emerging countries more than mature economies. A one percentage point less of Chinese growth will equal to 0.4% points of World GDP growth (0.8% points among Emerging Economies and 0.1% in the Mature Economies). The most affected regions will be South America and Sub-Saharan countries. In Europe, the strongest impact is expected on the German economy (0.3% points). This “China-effect” will also hit the Italian economy (0.15%), mainly due to a lesser demand on manufactured components coming from German China-export based industries.