BEIJING—As the rest of the world struggles to contain the coronavirus, China’s recovery is gaining momentum, positioning it to further close its gap with the U.S. economy.
Across China, restaurants and gyms are busy again. Subway cars and airport departure lounges are packed. Children are preparing to return to classrooms with few of the restrictions U.S. officials say will be hallmarks of post-coronavirus life. In some schools, children are being asked to bring masks—but they don’t have to wear them.
With the coronavirus smothered for now, thanks to draconian control measures, J.P. Morgan recently boosted its 2020 China growth forecast to 2.5% from 1.3% in April. Economists at the World Bank and elsewhere have also upgraded their forecasts for China, the only major economy expected to grow this year.
That bounceback, while far from China’s heady expansions of past years, should nonetheless help the world’s No. 2 economy move faster in catching up with the U.S., which could shrink by as much as 8.0% in 2020.
It is also buttressing Beijing’s belief that China’s state-led model, which helped the country navigate the 2008-09 financial crisis with minimal pain, is better than the U.S.’s market system, emboldening Chinese leaders at a time of rising geopolitical competition with the U.S.