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Gradual exchange rate adjustment needed
Updated: 2009-11-19 09:54

China should have a gradual exchange rate adjustment process, which will be potentially desirable for everyone, said John Hawksworth, head of macroeconomics of PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC), one of the world's four largest accounting firms.

He told Xinhua in a recent interview that the exchange rate adjustment should happen in a gradual way rather than through dramatic ways. Otherwise, that could destabilize economies, not only Chinese economy but also other economies.

China to grow strongly

Hawksworth predicted that China's economic growth would be around 8 percent this year and it is expected to go up to around 9- 10 percent in 2010.

In his view, that is because China has still remained in a strong financial and economic position through the global financial crisis, and the country is shifting its development pattern from export dependence to domestic demand.

China is in a position of having quite a lot of financial reserves and it does not face the position of huge budget deficits like other countries, such as the United States and the United Kingdom, he said.

"Chinese exports have obviously been hit by the recession, but that has been made up by the strong domestic stimulus by the government, which has kept government spending and investment growing quite strongly," said Hawksworth.

"That has honestly meant that China is being protected from global recession to some degree at least in terms of its own economy," he said.

At the same time, the economist also pointed out that China is still facing some challenges in the process of stimulating the domestic demand. "In the longer term, the challenge is not just a shift in investment but also the shift of greater consumption," he said, "because consumer spending in China is still quite small as a share of Chinese GDP when compared with the U.S. or Europe."

He said that the shift to more consumer spending would not happen overnight. "It will happen over the next 10 or 15 years rather than the next one or two years," he said.

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Power shift

It is widely believed that the world's economic power is shifting from West to East as emerging economies such as China and India are developing with a rapid and sustainable growth.

Hawksworth said that the power shift has already been happening over the past 20 years or so. "It's honestly got to the point where economies like China and India are much more important in the world economy now."

He said that the shift is inevitable because the productivity gap between China and the United States, for example, which used to be very large, has been reduced considerably.

Emerging nations have become much more productive due to investment in new technology and infrastructure and so on, he added.

"This process is only partly completed, this will be continuing, " he said. "It will take another 30 or 40 years until the process is complete."

According to the economist, the recent economic recession, however, accelerated the power shift and also prompted the shift from the G7 to the G20.

"You can't really manage the world economy without involving countries like China and India and Brazil and so on because they have got an increasingly important role to play," said the economist.

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