Life in a slower lane
Is China’s infrastructure boom past its peak?
A sharp slowdown in investment this year points to a more subdued future
China does not do infrastructure by half measures. It has the world’s longest networks of motorway and high-speed rail (which Hong Kong joins on September 23rd). It has the tallest bridge as well as the longest. It is building nearly ten airports a year, more than any other country. It has the most powerful hydroelectric dam, the biggest wind farm and as much coal power as the rest of the world combined.
But the infrastructure boom has lost steam this year. After expanding at a double-digit pace for much of the past three decades, investment in it has slowed sharply. Since May spending on projects ranging from railways to power plants has fallen compared with a year earlier, the longest weak patch on record.
The question is whether this is a blip or a fundamental change. Some analysts argue that the decline in spending is only short-term, related to the
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