10/13/2009, 00.00
CHINA
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Good news from Beijing, the number of billionaires is rising, so is the economy

What is rising for the population is the rate of inflation instaed. Migrant workers, laid off in their tens of millions last year, are now being re-hired at lower salaries. By contrast, the government stimulus package has led to the doubling of the number of billionaires.
Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – In a world reeling under the weight of the economic crisis, China seems to have good news. This year’s data show that the number of billionaires is up and that the economy is expected to grow by 9 per cent next year; at least, if certain conditions obtain.

The Shanghai-based Hurun Report published the list of China’s top 1,000 richest people, and found that at least 260 of them are billionaires, twice as many as last year. Most of them made their money in real estate speculation and in the stock market.

Another report, this one by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), suggests that second quarter data show that growth this year could reach 8.3 per cent, 9.1 per cent next.

For CASS, a think-tank close to the government, inflation should not be a major factor.

After a year of suffering and lower global demand, the indicators of Chinese output, which is very much export-oriented, show that China’s economy is picking up again.

Just a few months ago, a number of institutions were predicting sluggish growth; now they are more upbeat.

For instance, the International Monetary Fund raised its growth forecast for China to 8.5 per cent, saying the economy was one of the drivers leading Asia's economic recovery

Some economists warn however that the current robust recovery has been largely driven by Beijing’s stimulus package earlier this year when the government injected a lot of capital into the markets and made indiscriminate bank loans.

For people at street level, consumer prices are what is going up. What is more, even if some of the tens of millions of migrant workers who lost their jobs (because of lower exports) are being re-hired, they are getting lower salaries.

All this explains why China has more billionaires, benefitting from the government’s stimulus package and their traditional power to exploit cheap labour that has no rights.

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