China Slowdown May Hurt Resource-Rich Angola, Congo: IMF

Angola, South Africa, the Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea and the Democratic Republic of Congo are most at risk in Africa from a slowdown in China’s economy, the International Monetary Fund said.

Estimates from the Washington-based lender show that a 1 percentage point increase in China’s domestic investment growth leads to a 0.8 percentage point rise in the export growth rate of the five resource-rich African nations, the IMF said in a report today.

China has become Africa’s biggest trading partner in recent years and a key provider of investment and aid amid surging demand for commodities such as oil, copper and platinum to sustain growth in the world’s second-largest economy. A slowdown in global demand this year and capital outflows from emerging markets have prompted China to pare its growth ambitions. The government is targeting annual expansion of 7 percent this decade, compared with the 10.5 percent average pace of the last 10 years.

“Rising linkages with China have supported growth but also expose sub-Saharan African countries to potentially negative spillovers from China if its growth slows or the composition of its demand changes,” the IMF said in its Regional Economic Outlook for Africa.

The IMF’s estimates, based on data from the past 15 years, show that a 1 percentage point increase in China’s real domestic fixed asset investment has increased sub-Saharan Africa’s export growth rate on average by 0.6 percentage point.

Platinum Exports

Angola is sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest oil producer after Nigeria, while South Africa is the world’s top platinum producer and also exports commodities such as iron ore and coal to China.

Sub-Saharan Africa’s economy will probably expand 5 percent this year and 6 percent in 2014, the IMF said. China’s gross domestic product is forecast to increase 7.6 percent in 2013 and 7.3 percent in 2014, the lender said in its World Economic Outlook on Oct. 8.

A sustained deceleration in the economies of sub-Saharan Africa’s new emerging-market partners, particularly China, “could pose some challenges for sub-Saharan Africa as it attempts to sustain its own vigorous growth, especially in the context of subdued prospects for overall global growth,” the IMF said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rene Vollgraaff in Johannesburg at rvollgraaff@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nasreen Seria at nseria@bloomberg.net

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