For close to two decades, China has pulled global growth upwards. Though still growing fast, the rate of growth of the world’s second-largest economy is now declining, and that is pulling aggregate global growth downwards, quietly upending a myriad business and trade patterns.China now looms so large in the global economy that when it sneezes, others catch a cold. Corrected for currency fluctuations, the Chinese economy is the same size as those of India, Germany, Japan and Russia combined. But China’s annual growth has dropped steadily, from 10.6% in 2008 to 6.6% in 2018, and it is now declining faster than expected.This means the growth gap between China and the average of developing economies around the world is lower than two percentage points for the first time in almost 50 years, according to IMF figures.The most obvious change is in the country’s trade surplus with the rest of the world, which has plummeted to a fraction of its former glory. This is partly a matter of delib...

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