Chinese Consumers’ Confidence Sags, Casting a Pall Over the Global Economy

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By Alexandra Stevenson, Li Yuan and Raymond Zhong / Jan. 3, 2019 / NYtimesFor years, no matter what was happening elsewhere, global companies bet billions upon billions of dollars that China’s consumers would keep spending money.

Now, just when the world economy could use their financial firepower, they are holding back, worried about the country’s slowing growth, a trade war with the United States and rising amounts of personal debt.

A significant pullback could have a big impact on a world looking for engines of growth, on companies that counted on China’s continuing expansion and on global investors who have long viewed Chinese consumers as a steady source of profits.

Greater China — a region that includes mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan — is Apple’s third-largest market after the United States and Europe, accounting for $52 billion in annual sales in the company’s most recent fiscal year. General Motors, through local joint ventures, sells more cars in China than it does in the United States.

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