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Global economic slowdown: is China really to blame?

Four Chinese flags in a row at the G20 summit
In the last few months, China has become the fall guy for poor corporate results. Companies whose numbers haven’t quite lived up to expectations have used the same tactic: blame it on China.

Jaguar Land Rover’s interim results statement (31 Oct 2018): “The results primarily reflect lower than expected sales mainly due to more difficult market conditions experienced in China”.

Tim Cook, chief executive of Apple (2 Jan 2019): “most of our revenue shortfall to our guidance and over 100% of our year-over-year worldwide revenue decline occurred in Greater China”.

Tech giant Nvidia’s earnings update (28 Jan 2019): “Deteriorating macroeconomic conditions, particularly in China, impacted consumer demand for NVIDIA gaming graphics processing units,"

Industrial bellwether Caterpillar’s fourth quarter financial results (28 Jan 2019): "Sales in Asia/Pacific declined due to lower demand in China, partially offset by higher demand in a few other countries in the region."

The country provides an easy target when a sharp slowdown in economic growth is being widely publicised by the world’s press, with the added colour of its trade war with the US. China itself hasn’t done much to help its cause – overly optimistic forecasts mean the…

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