How Beijing’s Struggles Could Be an Opportunity for Washington
As 2022 came to an end, hopes were rising that China’s economy—and, consequently, the global economy—was poised for a surge. After three years of stringent restrictions on movement, mandatory mass testing, and interminable lockdowns, the Chinese government had suddenly decided to abandon its “zero COVID” policy, which had suppressed demand, hampered manufacturing, roiled supply lines, and produced the most significant slowdown that the country’s economy had seen since pro-market reforms began in the late 1970s. In the weeks following the policy change, global prices of oil, copper, and other commodities rose on expectations that Chinese demand would surge. In March, then Chinese Premier Li Keqiang announced a target for real GDP growth of around five percent, and many external analysts predicted it would go far higher.