Q&A Schwartz & Beattie / China Economy Asian markets and commodities continued the slide today (Tuesday) begun by European and U.S. markets a day before, in part the result of Monday's announcement that China's economy expanded at 7.7% in this year's first quarter rather than at the 8% many analysts had expected. China, the world's second-largest economy, is also one of the globe's biggest importers of commodities, such as oil and metals.
The relatively weak growth number coupled with weak economic data from the United States and Europe have sent commodity prices plunging, with gold losing more than $140 Monday, its worst one-day loss in 30 years. Gold has fallen to $1361 an ounce, after reaching its all-time high of $1900 in August, 2011. Oil futures fell below $90 for the first time since December and have lost 8% in the last two weeks. Stephen Schwartz, chief Asia economist for the Hong Kong-based Banco Bilbao Vizcaya, tells VOA's Victor Beattie there is no doubt analysts were disappointed by the 7.7% first quarter growth rate in China, but he still expects the Chinese economy to outperform official forecasts.