U.S. economic growth is on track to outpace China for the first time since 1976 as the Chinese economy sputters under President Xi Jinping’s draconian coronavirus lockdowns.
China’s Gross Domestic Product will grow by just 2% this year, according to a Bloomberg Economics estimate, trailing the predicted 2.8% growth in the U.S.
If the prediction is correct, it would mark the first time in 46 years that China, the world’s second-largest economy, has lagged the U.S.’s full-year growth pace, according to World Bank Data.
That year marked China’s emergence from its catastrophic Cultural Revolution decade. Since that period, China has led the U.S. in economic expansion rates.
The new prediction lags the median forecast of 4% for China’s GDP growth in 2022.
Mr. Xi has set an official growth target of 5.5% for this year and has warned officials that they must ensure China’s growth outpaces the U.S., according to a Wall Street Journal report in April.
Chinese officials have adopted a bevy of fiscal stimulus measures amid the pandemic, but their impacts on the economy have been overcome by Mr. Xi’s Covid Zero policy, which requires targeted lockdowns in areas with high case counts.
This year would be the first since the late 1990s that China has missed its target growth rate. The measure was not tracked before then, and China did not publish a target in 2020 when the pandemic broke out.
A 2% expansion would also lag China’s 2.2% growth rate in 2020.
In the U.S., while consumers are struggling under high inflation, the economy is buoyed by strong consumer spending and hiring.