Billionaire George Soros makes grim forecast for China, global economy

The investor said a crisis similar to the financial catastrophe of 2008 could take place in 2016.
By Elizabeth Shim Contact the Author   |   Jan. 22, 2016 at 2:21 PM
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DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan. 22 (UPI) -- Billionaire hedge fund manager George Soros said the Chinese economy is in for a "hard landing," after stock markets tumbled early January in the world's second-largest economy.

Soros made his grim prediction at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Thursday, when he told Bloomberg that the downturn is "practically unavoidable."

"I'm not expecting it, I'm observing it," Soros said, referring to a selloff since June 2015 that has wiped out $16 trillion from the global equities market, according to Bloomberg.

The Hungarian-born investor and philanthropist, who amassed a $24 billion fortune starting in the 1950s, said China's economic decline would not be contained – spilling into other parts of the world.

Soros has said in a separate statement the global financial markets are headed for a crisis that is likely to mirror the crisis that began more than seven years ago in the United States when subprime mortgages roiled markets, and millions lost their jobs or their homes.

Some of the factors that could contribute to a downturn in 2016 include low oil prices, which reached below $30 a barrel for the first time in 12 years. The decline has led to a global selloff of equities.

Not all experts at Davos, however, agreed with Soros' doomsday predictions.

Chinese state news agency Xinhua reported the managing director of the International Monetary Fund said China is going through a "manageable transition."

"There needs to be acceptance that there will be a certain degree of volatility; this is entirely compatible with market-driven principles," said Christine Lagarde.

The IMF said China is expected to be a major contributor to global growth with a forecast growth rate of 6.3 percent in 2016.

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