Shortly after 2 p.m. EDT, the Dow Jones
So what's causing world indexes to drop today? There are two major comments surrounding China and its growth that seem to be primary culprits. BHP Billiton's president of iron ore commented that steel growth rates are flattening. Another reason for hand-wringing is that an official from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers predicted auto sales growth will miss an 8% target, and could be even lower than 5%.
BHP's warning doesn't come as a huge surprise. It's long been known that China was trying to slow its overheated building boom to focus more on consumer spending as a means of driving GDP. A large slowdown in Chinese demand has already been priced into BHP and its peers, who have seen steep drops in their share price across the past year. The auto news is a little more disconcerting since it deals with lower spending from the consumers who are supposed to be picking up China's economic slack. The news pushed auto stocks particularly low at the market's open. General Motors
In the long run, I think you'd have to be crazy to think China would travel on an unvarnished economic path to becoming the world's largest economy. Of course there will be some bumps in the road. The question is whether China can successfully navigate its property bubble problems while shifting more of its economic output to consumer spending. On days like today, it might feel like the answer is no. However, looking past the fear in the market over China today, the long-term opportunity remains in place.
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