China's Consumers Are Still Spending

Despite the slowdown in China's economy, consumers plan to open their wallets more in 2009, especially for entertainment and education

The economic news coming out of China sounds dismal. Twenty million job losses. Ten thousand factory closings. Sputtering exports. Foreign direct investment receding fast. Even normally tight-lipped government officials have warned about social unrest. There are some reasons for optimism: Chinese banks opened their spigots and increased lending to an astounding $237 billion in January and another $157 billion in February. The stock market has rebounded 35% since the beginning of the year, and February sales grew 25% after the government announced tax breaks for cars with small engines. But the weak export sector continues to hurt the economy.

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