China’s economic growth rate has fallen to a new low, expanding only seven percent year-on-year in the first quarter of this year, according to official data announced by the National Bureau of Statistics.
The Chinese juggernaut is still growing, but not nearly as fast as it was, or possibly as fast the rest of the world would like.
China, the world’s number two economy and a key driver of global growth, is adding $700m of economic output a year. So the $10tn economy is still on course to overtake the United States as the biggest in the world.
But as it shifts down a gear to growth of around seven percent, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is talking about China undershooting that mark this year at 6.8 percent and then even lower at 6.3 percent in 2016.
Beijing is trying to reign in debt, eliminate corruption, deal with pollution, and bring its economy round to something which is not so reliant on exporting to the rest of the world. It is a giant economic re-engineering plan. And with the worst growth in almost one-quarter of a century, China could be looking at more government spending and interest rate cuts.
So what is the impact of the Chinese economic slowdown on the people? How does it affect Asia and the rest of the world? And what is next for the economic giant?
Adrian Brown explores how the Chinese downturn is making it tough for a lot of Chinese, like the millions of college graduates trying to enter a workforce which just does not have the jobs.
Step Vaessen reports from Jakarta, Indonesia, on the Indo-Chinese dynamics and the Asian economy; and Andrew Thomas reports from Sydney on the Australian economy, which for so long has fed the Chinese dragon.
IMF’s Christine Lagarde
The managing director of the IMF, Christine Lagarde talks to Ali Velshi from Al Jazeera America about a “new mediocre” era, the Greek debt crisis and the way forward, as well as the need for structural reforms across the world.
Ecuador and the oil-fuelled bonanza
Oil prices have slumped by half, they are down below $60 a barrel these days. That, and a rise in the US dollar is hurting growth in Ecuador.
But President Rafael Correa is denying a fiscal crisis even though budget cuts are looming on the social spending which made Correa so popular.
So, is Correa still popular? Al Jazeera’s Harris Whitbeck reports from Ecuador.
The cost of treating dementia
Dementia starts out seemingly as forgetfulness, but moves to serious brain degeneration.
There is no cure, but research has come a long way, with new drugs on trial suggesting new treatments may be coming closer. For most, part brain plaque is considered to be the cause.
Now researchers in Australia have used ultrasound to remove plaque from the brains of mice – and have seen improvements in memory – while other research is focusing on the role of immune cells in that build-up of plaque.
Biotech company Biogen has seen its market capitalisation soar by $40bn since December when it announced its experimental drug for Alzheimer’s slowed progression of the disease.
Unfortunately these successes are the exceptions rather than the rule. There have been 101 failed attempts at producing drugs for dementia between 1998 and 2012. Over the same period there were just three successful ones.
The number of people with dementia will reach $135m by the year 2050, with care costs in the US alone to exceed $1tn.
So, is there hope for a cure or effective treatment? And how will the world pay for the increasing burden on healthcare as the number of sufferers increases?
Melissa Stevens is from a biomedical research action tank called “Faster Cures” which aims to speed the whole process up and get to a cure, faster. She talks to Counting the Cost.