New Chart Shows China Could Overtake the U.S. as the World’s Largest Economy Earlier Than Expected

US and China will meet for the first time at a high level since Russia's attack on Ukraine as Biden tries to get Beijing's help with the war.

China is set to overtake the United States as the world’s largest economy a few years earlier than anticipated due to the coronavirus pandemic, analysts said, CNBC reported.

The U.S. reported last week that gross domestic product in 2020 contracted by 2.3% to $20.93 trillion in current-dollar terms, based on a preliminary government estimate.

In contrast, China said its GDP expanded by 2.3% last year to 101.6 trillion yuan. That’s about $14.7 trillion, based on an average exchange rate of 6.9 yuan per U.S. dollar, according to Wind Information data.

That puts China’s economy at only $6.2 trillion behind the U.S., down from $7.1 trillion in 2019.

“This (divergence in growth) is consistent with our view that the pandemic has been a much larger blow to the US economy than China’s economy,” Rob Subbaraman of Nomura said in an email Friday. “We believe that on reasonable growth projections the size of China’s economy in USD terms will overtake the US in 2028.”

If the Chinese currency strengthens further to around 6 yuan per U.S. dollar, China could surpass the U.S. two years earlier than anticipated — in 2026, Subbaraman said.

The yuan began strengthening against the U.S. dollar in the last six months to levels not seen in more than two years.

Covid-19 first emerged in late 2019 in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

In an effort to control the virus, authorities shut down more than half of China’s economy in February 2020 and urban unemployment hit a record high of 6.2% that month. GDP contracted by 6.8% in the first quarter.

The outbreak stalled domestically after several weeks, and the economy returned to growth in the second quarter.

Meanwhile, the coronavirus spread widely overseas and became a global pandemic, hitting the U.S. the worst. The U.S. has the most number of Covid-19 deaths and infections in the world.

The U.S. unemployment rate surged above 14% in April and remained above 10% for three more months.

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