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China continues 'new normal' growth: Morgan Stanley

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-11-22 17:25

BEIJING - Head of the world's leading investment bank has confidence in China's economy, which is experiencing a slowdown under the "new normal".

"In the next three to five years, China's economy will continue to grow at a faster pace than any of the major developed markets," said James P. Gorman, chairman and chief executive officer of Morgan Stanley.

Gorman made the remarks in an interview with Xinhua on the sidelines of celebrations for the 20th anniversary of Morgan Stanley in China.

The number of Morgan Stanley employees in China has increased to over 1000 in 20 years, while China has become one of the investment bank's most important markets and a "new normal" economy has emerged.

One of the features of this "new normal" is much slower growth, dragged down by a housing slowdown, softening domestic demand and unsteady exports to a low not seen since the 2008/09 global financial crisis.

In the 35 years between 1978 and 2013, annual growth of the Chinese economy averaged close to 10 percent and, between 2003 and 2007, it was over 11.5 percent.

"The 'new normal' is still very strong growth, not spectacular growth in terms of percentages, but spectacular in terms of absolute economic output," Gorman said. The chairman expects the economy to grow at between 6 and 7.5 percent in the next few years.

"This is somewhat slower than it was ten years ago. However, growing from that large base at 6 to 7.5 percent annually is a phenomenal achievement for an economy of this size," he added.

As to concerns over a slowdown, Gorman said, "I have high degree of confidence that China is not heading for a hard landing, but it will still manage very attractive growth for the next several years."

China's economy is not short of driving forces. According to Gorman, growth will be propped up by liberalization of the market, improved efficiency in state-owned enterprises (SOEs), urbanization, increased productivity, domestic demand and less reliance on exports.

The most attractive business for Morgan Stanley, with its cross-border expertise, would be working with China's SOEs and other corporations in transition from domestic or even regional players to becoming national or global players.

As a witness to the launch of the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect earlier this week, Gorman expects more business opportunities for Morgan Stanley through the connect which he calls a "perfect example of how Chinese markets are getting integrated into global markets".

While Gorman sympathizes with China's decision makers, faced as they are with geopolitical, environmental, demographic and urbanization challenges, he believes the outcome of the third plenary session of the 18th CPC Central Committee in November last year, will help them with the hard choices which lie ahead.

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