China is due to overtake the US as the world’s biggest economy five years earlier than planned – despite the coronavirus pandemic starting there, experts revealed today.
The Centre for Economics and Business Research said Beijing was on track to race past America in 2028 as its growth rate outstrips rival nations.
Publishing the World Economic League Table in its annual Boxing Day update, the think tank said: “The pandemic has not affected all economies equally.
“China, in particular, seems to have weathered the storm better than the western economies and as a result, we now see the Chinese economy overtaking the US in dollar terms in 2028, five years earlier than we had expected a year ago.
“We also see China achieving its objective of becoming an upper-income economy during the new five-year plan period, possibly as early as 2023.”
The London-based CEBR said global gross domestic product plunged by 4.4% this year.
But it believed Covid-19 inoculations would boost the economic recovery.
“In dollar terms, we see world GDP $6trillion lower than we had predicted a year ago,” it said.
“With the vaccines now coming on stream, we expect a strong recovery with 5.3% real growth in 2021.
“In the longer term, we expect world GDP to be $1trillion less in 2034 than we previously forecast, so most of the hit from Covid should be recovered.”
The think tank urged western nations to learn from the resilience of Far East countries showed during the crisis.
“The success of Asian economies in managing the consequences of the pandemic suggest that western economies should become less insular and should pay much more attention to what is going on in the East,” it warned.
“Typically, we compare ourselves with other western economies and miss out on what often is best practice, especially in the rapidly growing economies in Asia.”
CEBR deputy chairman Douglas McWilliams said: “The big news in this forecast is the speed of growth of the Chinese economy.
“We expect it to become an upper-income economy during the current five-year plan period – and we expect it to overtake the US a full five years earlier than we did a year ago.
“Other Asian economies are also shooting up the league table.
“One lesson for western policymakers, who have performed relatively badly during the pandemic, is that they need to pay much more attention to what is happening in Asia rather than simply looking at each other.”
Analysts said “the UK economy continues to be one of the better performers in Europe despite Brexit ”.
But the CEBR added: “It is forecast to be overtaken only by India during the period to 2035.
“By 2035 the economy is forecast to be 23% larger than that of the historic rival and neighbour France.”