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December 19, 2016

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Through the hourglass of a changing world

FROM the Brexit vote to the US presidential election, 2016 was a year full of surprises.

“These events bring huge uncertainties for the world economy,” said Jameel Ahmad, vice president of corporate development and market research at FXTM. “It is a tough time for analysts to predict what will happen in 2017, but, clearly, China has become a stabilizer.”

Indeed, China’s “new normal” strategy for rebalancing the economy kept gross domestic product growth at an annualized 6.7 percent for the first three quarters of this year, and institutions such as the World Bank, Citi and Nomura forecasting a growth rate of 6.5 percent for next year.

“New normal” is an umbrella for an array of policy fronts, including supply-side reform, performance of the yuan against other currencies, local government debt, Internet-Plus technology and the “One Belt, One Road” trade initiative.

On the investment front, China is expected to roll out new rules in response to the foreign outcry about aggressive Chinese investors gobbling up overseas assets. Foreign politicians and businesses are demanding equal access to China’s domestic market.

Howard Wu, a lawyer at Baker Mckenzie, said foreign companies have become more cautious in developing investment plans for China, partly due to the pending rules. Everyone is watching and waiting.

China as the world’s second-largest economy is a major player in a rapidly changing global environment. What happens here ripples across the globe.

Benchmark is devoting this issue and the next to the turn of the calendar. We will look back on 2016 and ahead to 2017, focusing on key industries such as property, finance, retail, technology and manufacturing. We will try to provide insight into the forces driving change and into where China may be 12 months from now.


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