Posted by: mulrickillion | February 21, 2012

Unpopular but friendly advice

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Martin Wolf says he sees a soft landing as China’s growth slows and remains above 7 percent this year. [Zhang Haizhou / China Daily].

By Cecily Liu and Zhang Haizhou, China Daily, Feb 17, 2012 —

Economics expert says events have proved him right

Martin Wolf, associate editor and chief economics commentator at the Financial Times, has on his desk a souvenir Chinese terracotta warrior and a miniature of French sculptor Auguste Rodin’s Le Penseur.

These two classic works of art catch the eye among the neatly stacked shelves of financial books in Wolf’s spacious Thames-side London office. But together they hint at a more current story – China’s amazing economic growth alongside the anxiety caused by Europe’s debt crisis.

"I expect Chinese foreign investment in Europe to grow substantially over the next 10 or 20 years, and that’s quite natural and normal," Wolf says.

In the past two months alone, China Investment Corporation, the country’s sovereign wealth fund, bought an 8.68 percent stake in the UK’s largest water and sewerage company, Thames Water, while China Three Gorges, the operator of the world’s biggest dam, bought a 21.35 percent stake in Portugal’s biggest power producer, Energias de Portugal SA.

"Europe is still rich and has lots of high-technology companies," says Wolf, adding that further opportunities for Chinese investment exist in the motor vehicle, civil aviation and financial services sectors.

The relationship between China and Europe changed significantly in the aftermath of the 2008 crisis. The same financial shock that exposed the unsustainable debt levels of some eurozone governments left China’s growth almost intact – thanks to a 4 trillion yuan ($635 billion, 483 billion euros) stimulus package introduced by the Chinese government, the effectiveness of which "really surprised" even Wolf. . . .

Unpopular but friendly advice|Last Word|chinadaily.com.cn

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