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From Steve Mufson's article suggesting that Chinese consumers might lead a global recovery:

Morgan Stanley estimated that, using conservative projections, China's total consumer spending will surpass that of the United States by 2018.

In the first seven months of the year, vehicles sold in China reached 12.3 million on an annualized basis, exceeding the United States for the first time ever, according to Morgan Stanley.

By Ezra Klein  |  October 6, 2009; 10:45 AM ET
Categories:  China  
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Comments

...and there are more Marlboro smokers in China than there are Americans. Exports of unique, desirable products (like tobacco and its derivatives) have given this nation its foundation and continued wealth; however, many citizens mistake easily-duplicated products and arguably unnecessary services (most financial sector jobs, for example) as "the future".

At a time when the nation needs originality and hard work to assure its future, there is only a group-thought plea for subsidies. Sad.

Posted by: rmgregory | October 6, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

How much will China care about propping up our debt when that milestone rolls around? I'm figuring not so much.

Posted by: eRobin1 | October 6, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

This would be a great time to point out that most American companies can't sell their cars in China because they don't meet the Chinese minimum fuel efficiency standards. More money that American companies threw away because they wanted to ignore the environment and keep turning out the same old SUV.

Posted by: Colleeninhi | October 6, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

For a more critical take on the growth of China's consumer economy see http://chinastudygroup.net/ .

The China Study Group is the only English-language website to discuss the growing social costs of China's economic growth and the Chinese left in any detail.

Posted by: michiganmaine | October 6, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

From a global perspective it isn't gross Chinese consumption, but net consumption. That isn't adjusting, which means a weak recovery for us at best.

eRobin1- They'll buy our debt as long as run a surplus with a fixed exchange rate.

The dollar's you pay for Made in China jeans are no good to the factory owner. He can't pay is workers with them. He can't pay his utilities. He can't pay his rent with it. The same is true of every Chinese exporter, while the converse is true of any US exporter.

The problem is there are many more Chinese exporters selling dollars than US exporters selling Yuan. So the Chinese Central bank buys all the dollars to keep the price fixed, they don't have much use for all those dollars either so they end up with bunches of US debt, they just don't have much choice.

Posted by: sfmandrew | October 6, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

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