John Veihmeyer, KPMG


John Veihmeyer, Global Chairman of KPMG.

The boss of one of the world’s largest accountancy firms thinks China is “a lot more bullish” than press reports make it out to be and he sees it as a major growth area for 2017.

KPMG global chairman John Veihmeyer told Business Insider in an interview that China, along with a number of other emerging markets, is seeing a flow of outbound investment from the region despite reports of an economic slowdown.

“China is a lot more bullish than press reports make it out to be. We have spent a lot of time there and I think we are seeing continued appetite outbound and this will continue to have an impact. We are seeing significant interest in a series of roadshows in a number of different countries, including China,” said Veihmeyer to BI.

According to the latest data from China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the economy grew by 6.7% year-on-year in the September quarter, a figure that was in line with expectations. In seasonally adjusted terms, the economy grew by 1.8% during the quarter, again in line with expectations. The June quarter growth rate, previously reported at 1.8%, was revised up to 1.9%.

Economists note that China’s government investment has played a crucial role in helping to stabilise the economy.

Subsequently, China’s debt to GDP ratio keeps rising and while borrowing has helped fuel growth in China — it’s starting to lose its effectiveness. Analysts at Morgan Stanley said in a note to clients that China’s debt to GDP rose to 276% in the third quarter this year from 249% in 2015.

However, Veihmeyer told us that his clients — which include some of the largest companies in the world across all sectors — are more optimistic this year than last year and that KPMG’s on-ground experience with China gives the group greater confidence in how China will perform.

“On balance there is slow growth [across the world] that we’ve been dealing with, not just economically, but geopolitically and socially, but I am generally optimistic for the global economy and at KPMG we see where the opportunities exist to grow effectively,” said Veihmeyer.

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