China's economic slowdown poses a significant threat to Australia

China's economic slowdown poses a significant threat to Australia

China's sudden explosion as an economic powerhouse in the APAC region was once the source of global anxiety, but in 2019 it's the opposite that could cause some problems at home.

Industry research company IBISWorld has warned that the decline in growth of China's GDP could have far reaching consequences for Australia's economy.

IBISWorld says that China's two decades of economic growth are coming to an end.

Analysts have found that China's annual GDP growth has declined from close to 10 per cent ten years ago to 6.6 per cent in 2018.

This is particularly concerning for Australia, considering how tight our economies have become over the last decade.

IBISWorld says that the mining, education, tourism and retail sectors will suffer as a result.

Economic researchers believe that tensions with the United States and their ongoing trade war has caused the sudden decline in China's GDP and the effects of the war are being felt globally.

As Australia's largest trade partner, IBISWorld says we are right in the thick of the implications resulting from this downturn.

"Australia is more exposed to a downturn in Chinese economic growth than most nations," says IBISWorld senior industry analyst Jason Aravanis.

"China is Australia's largest trade partner and accounted for 30.6 per cent of total Australian export revenue in 2017-18."

"For context, Australia's second largest trading partner is Japan, which accounted for 12.7 per cent of export revenue in 2017-18. In fact, China accounts for more Australian trade than the United States and Japan combined."

Iron ore mining and black coal mining are expected to be the industry's most at risk because of the Chinese downturn; 80 per cent of revenue generated by Australia's iron ore industry is from exports to China, whilst 30 per cent of revenue generated by black coal mining comes from Chinese exports.

Australia's education sector has also become increasingly reliant on international students, with Chinese students contributing $32.4 billion to the sector in 2017-18.

"Australian education providers have benefitted from China's growing middle class, which has led to Chinese enrolments at Australian universities increasing by at least 12 per cent every year since 2002," says Aravanis.

The tourism sector is also currently heavily reliant on the Chinese, with 1.43 million Chinese tourists arriving in Australia in 2018.

According to Tourism Australia, Chinese tourists spent $11.5 billion on Australian goods and services over the year, with luxury brands mostly seeing the benefits.

The outlook is dire according to IBISWorld, who referenced Australia's reliance on China to survive the 2008-09 financial crisis.

"As the outlook for the global economy weakens in 2018-19, Australia has little protection this time," says Aravanis.

"The trade war between the United States and China is escalating, and it remains unclear if the two countries can come to an agreement."

"As Australia currently maintains low interest rates and high government debt relative to prior years, the economy has little to protect it from a global economic downturn."

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Business News Australia

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