A psychological revelation
of China's growing influence
By Jeff Pan
The Chinese stock market suffered the worst one-day fall in a decade last Tuesday. The US stocks also plunged Wednesday in Beijing time as Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped a significant 3.29%. Meanwhile, Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Manila stocks were also affected by this concussion.
It is convenient to come to the conclusion that Chinese stock market has become so influential after a fanatic 130% growth last year that the world would sneeze when China coughs. However, the incident did provide an indicator of China's growing influence, and how well investors around the world understand that.
In the mere sense of quantum, Chinese stock market is not big enough to be considered a real noise maker on the world stage. Chinese stock value totaled only 10.25 trillion yuan (US$ 1.32 trillion) on January 9, 2007. The sudden plump of stock markets in Shanghai and Shenzhen is yet powerful enough to enkindle a recession in the global capital market.
Nevertheless, the two incidents happening on the same day are not just accidental.
The export-oriented Chinese economy has been developing rapidly and come to a considerable scale. Investors around the world are fully aware of that only by looking at the how many things in their own households were made in China. Upon learning the slump of the Chinese stock market, the acute investors may have demonstrated their sensitivity by selling the stocks on hands.
However, there is one link missing in these logics. The immature Chinese stock market is not a barometer of the macro economy as it is in other countries. Most Chinese families choose to save
their hard-earned money rather than risking it to the unstable capital market. Prior to the hike of stock prices last year, Chinese stock market had witnessed a decade-long recession while China's
GDP grew at an average rate of 9.88% in a 12-year span from 1993 to 2004.