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Map: China’s Provinces Rival Countries in Population Size

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Chart: China’s Provinces Rival Countries in Population Size

The very mention of China triggers both awe and anxiety in the mainstream media.

With the globe’s largest GDP (PPP) at $23.12 trillion, China is indisputably a close contender for the title of world’s largest economic superpower along with the United States.

But what makes this possible in the first place? The country’s economic clout arguably stems from its human capital: a 1.4 billion-strong population.

A Force to be Reckoned With

Each of China’s 33 distinct regions is home to a population size on par with entire countries:

Chinese ProvincePopulation (millions)Comparable CountriesPopulation (millions)
🇨🇳 Anhui62🇫🇷 France64.5
🇨🇳 Beijing21.7🇫🇮 Finland, 🇸🇪 Sweden, 🇳🇴 Norway20.7
🇨🇳 Chongqing30.5🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia31.7
🇨🇳 Fujian38.7🇦🇫 Afghanistan34.6
🇨🇳 Gansu26.1🇾🇪 Yemen29.1
🇨🇳 Guangdong110🇵🇭 Philippines103.2
🇨🇳 Guangxi48.4🇨🇴 Colombia48.7
🇨🇳 Guizhou35.5🇲🇦 Morocco34.5
🇨🇳 Hainan9.1🇦🇹 Austria8.7
🇨🇳 Hebei74.7🇹🇭 Thailand69
🇨🇳 Heilongjiang38🇮🇶 Iraq37.9
🇨🇳 Henan95.3🇪🇬 Egypt90.2
🇭🇰 Hong Kong7.3🇯🇲 Jamaica, 🇨🇷 Costa Rica7.7
🇨🇳 Hubei58.8🇰🇷 South Korea51.2
🇨🇳 Hunan68.2🇬🇧 United Kingdom65.6
🇨🇳 Jiangsu80🇹🇷 Turkey79.8
🇨🇳 Jiangxi45.9🇦🇷 Argentina43.6
🇨🇳 Jilin27.3🇬🇭 Ghana27.6
🇨🇳 Liaoning43.8🇪🇸 Spain46.4
🇲🇴 Macau0.61🇲🇪 Montenegro0.62
🇨🇳 Inner Mongolia25.2🇩🇰 Denmark, 🇱🇺 Luxembourg, 🇳🇱 Netherlands23.3
🇨🇳 Ningxia6.7🇸🇻 El Salvador6.3
🇨🇳 Qinghai5.9🇸🇬 Singapore5.6
🇨🇳 Shaanxi38.1🇵🇱 Poland38
🇨🇳 Shandong99.5🇻🇳 Vietnam92.7
🇨🇳 Shanghai24.2🇷🇴 Romania, 🇭🇷 Croatia24.5
🇨🇳 Shanxi36.8🇨🇦 Canada36.2
🇨🇳 Sichuan82.6🇩🇪 Germany82.3
🇨🇳 Tianjin15.6🇸🇰 Slovakia, 🇨🇿 Czech Republic16
🇨🇳 Xinjiang24🇦🇺 Australia24.4
🇨🇳 Xizang (Tibet)3.3🇺🇾 Uruguay3.5
🇨🇳 Yunnan47.7🇰🇪 Kenya45.4
🇨🇳 Zhejiang55.9🇿🇦 South Africa55.6

To drill down further, China is composed of:

  • 4 municipalities
    Beijing, Chongqing, Shanghai, and Tianjin
  • 5 autonomous regions
    Guangxi, Inner Mongolia, Ningxia, Tibet, and Xinjiang
  • 2 special administrative regions (SAR)
    Hong Kong and Macau

The remaining 22 are the officially-labeled provinces of China.

It’s worth noting that Taiwan is also claimed as one of China’s provinces, even though there is some ambiguity and disagreement around Taiwan’s actual political status.

Nevertheless, it’s clear that every region, and especially the massive cities with them, are substantial contributors to the country’s growth and success.

A New Demographic Era Ahead

Going forward, China’s population may cease to be a strength that contributes to rapid economic growth.

In the wake of the infamous one child policy, the country could soon by dealing with the demographic time bomb of a rapidly aging population.

China population pyramid

Source: Population Pyramid

By 2050, almost four in ten people in China will be above the age of 60, which will create an added strain on the already declining working-age population.

The good news for China?

The country is making moves to combat the challenges ahead, including ambitious plans to build a $1 trillion artificial intelligence industry by 2030 – an attempt to close the impending labor gap.

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Markets

What History Reveals About Interest Rate Cuts

How have previous cycles of interest rate cuts in the U.S. impacted the economy and financial markets?

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Line chart showing the depth and duration of previous cycles of interest rate cuts.

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The following content is sponsored by New York Life Investments

What History Reveals About Interest Rate Cuts

The Federal Reserve has overseen seven cycles of interest rate cuts, averaging 26 months and 6.35 percentage points (ppts) each.

We’ve partnered with New York Life Investments to examine the impact of interest rate cut cycles on the economy and on the performance of financial assets in the U.S. to help keep investors informed. 

A Brief History of Interest Rate Cuts

Interest rates are a powerful tool that the central bank can use to spur economic activity. 

Typically, when the economy experiences a slowdown or a recession, the Federal Reserve will respond by cutting interest rates. As a result, each of the previous seven rate cut cycles—shown in the table below—occurred during or around U.S. recessions, according to data from the Federal Reserve. 

Interest Rate Cut CycleMagnitude (ppts)
July 2019–April 2020-2.4
July 2007–December 2008-5.1
November 2000–July 2003-5.5
May 1989–December 1992-6.9
August 1984–October 1986-5.8
July 1981–February 1983-10.5
July 1974–January 1977-8.3
Average-6.4

Source: Federal Reserve 07/03/2024

Understanding past economic and financial impacts of interest rate cuts can help investors prepare for future monetary policy changes.

The Economic Response: Inflation

During past cycles, data from the Federal Reserve, shows that, on average, the inflation rate continued to decline throughout (-3.4 percentage points), largely due to the lagged effects of a slower economy that normally precedes interest rate declines. 

CycleStart to end change (ppts)End to one year later (ppts)
July 2019–April 2020-1.5+3.8
July 2007–December 2008-2.3+2.6
November 2000–July 2003-1.3+0.9
May 1989–December 1992-2.5-0.2
August 1984–October 1986-2.8+3.1
July 1981–February 1983-7.3+1.1
July 1974–January 1977-6.3+1.6
Average-3.4+1.9

Source: Federal Reserve 07/03/2024. Based on the effective federal funds rate. Calculations are based on the previous four rate cut cycles (2019-2020, 2007-2008, 2000-2003, 1989-1992, 1984-1986, 1981-1983, 1974-1977).

However, inflation played catch-up and rose by +1.9 percentage points one year after the final rate cut. With lower interest rates, consumers were incentivized to spend more and save less, which led to an uptick in the price of goods and services in six of the past seven cycles. 

The Economic Response: Real Consumer Spending Growth

Real consumer spending growth, as measured by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, typically reacted to rate cuts more quickly. 

On average, consumption growth rose slightly during the rate cut periods (+0.3 percentage points) and that increase accelerated one year later (+1.7 percentage points). 

CycleStart to end (ppts)End to one year later (ppts)
July 2019–April 2020-9.6+15.3
July 2007–December 2008-4.6+3.1
November 2000–July 2003+0.8-2.5
May 1989–December 1992+3.0-1.3
August 1984–October 1986+1.6-2.7
July 1981–February 1983+7.2-0.7
July 1974–January 1977+3.9+0.9
Average+0.3+1.7

Source: BEA 07/03/2024. Quarterly data. Consumer spending growth is based on the percent change from the preceding quarter in real personal consumption expenditures, seasonally adjusted at annual rates. Percent changes at annual rates were then used to calculate the change in growth over rate cut cycles. Data from the last full quarter before the date in question was used for calculations. Calculations are based on the previous four rate cut cycles (2019-2020, 2007-2008, 2000-2003, 1989-1992, 1984-1986, 1981-1983, 1974-1977).

The COVID-19 pandemic and the Global Financial Crisis were outliers. Spending continued to fall during the rate cut cycles but picked up one year later.

The Investment Response: Stocks, Bonds, and Real Estate

Historically, the trend in financial asset performance differed between stocks, bonds, and real estate both during and after interest rate declines.

Stocks and real estate posted negative returns during the cutting phases, with stocks taking the bigger hit. Conversely, bonds, a traditional safe haven, gained ground. 

AssetDuring (%)1 Quarter After (%)2 Quarters After (%)4 Quarters After (%)
Stocks-6.0+18.2+19.4+23.9
Bonds+6.3+15.3+15.1+10.9
Real Estate-4.8+25.5+15.6+25.5

Source: Yahoo Finance, Federal Reserve, NAREIT 09/04/2024. The S&P 500 total return index was used to track performance of stocks. The ICE Corporate Bonds total return index was used to track the performance of bonds. The NAREIT All Equity REITs total return index was used to track the performance of real estate. Calculations are based on the previous four rate cut cycles (2019-2020, 2007-2008, 2000-2003, 1989-1992). It is not possible to invest directly in an index. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Index definitions can be found at the end of this piece.

However, in the quarters preceding the last rate cut, all three assets increased in value. One year later, real estate had the highest average performance, followed closely by stocks, with bonds coming in third.

What’s Next for Interest Rates

In March 2024, the Federal Reserve released its Summary of Economic Projections outlining its expectation that U.S. interest rates will fall steadily in 2024 and beyond.

YearRange (%)Median (%)
Current5.25-5.505.375
20244.50-4.754.625
20253.75-4.03.875
20263.00-3.253.125
Longer run2.50-2.752.625

Source: Federal Reserve 20/03/2024

Though the timing of interest rate cuts is uncertain, being armed with the knowledge of their impact on the economy and financial markets can provide valuable insight to investors. 

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