2017 will be a telling year for China’s economy. It will face macro headwinds from slow growth in the developed world, rate hikes from the US Federal Reserve, persistent capital flight, and an anti-free trade president in the White House. It will also contend with the micro challenges of meeting GDP targets, growing debt in the Chinese financial system, and a volatile real estate market.
These economic clouds will loom large over the 19th National Congress of the CCP, which is scheduled to convene in autumn of 2017. The meeting will afford a glimpse into the opaque workings of the highest levels of CCP leadership and signal who the next generation of China’s leaders will be.
This has many investors betting on more stimulus and loose monetary policy from Beijing – anything to ensure a backdrop of stability for the 19th Congress. And though this could well be true, the story of 2017 won’t be about whether the Chinese government wants to maintain stability, but whether it can.