Where is China's slowdown?

The long-predicted slowdown did not occur in the first half. But slowing credit growth points to some painful months ahead.

News that China's economy grew at 9.5% year-on-year in the first half, some 0.2% lower than at the same point last year, has caused consternation and optimism in equal amounts among China observers and businessmen Most were expecting, and perhaps fearing, a marked slowdown after the government announced, at the National People's Congress in March 2005, that it was proceeding to slam the brakes on sectors experiencing hyper growth such as real estate, cement, steel and cars and intended to bring growth down to 8% for the year. Instead, the rate of growth continues at the psychologically important rate of above 9%.

China's growth rates are rarely free from controversy. When...

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