China is fast catching up as a global economic power, while the public perception around the world is that the US still remains at the top, according to a new survey in 38 countries. A median of 42 per cent say the US is the world’s leading economy, while 32 per cent name China, Pew Research Center said in its latest survey results released yesterday. Across all of the countries surveyed in Latin America, as well as most in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, people tend to believe that the US is the top economy. “And by a 51 per cent-35 per cent margin, Americans name their own country rather than China,” it said. But in seven of the 10 European Union nations in the study, China is considered the leading economic power. It is tied with the US for the top spot in Italy. A plurality in Russia also holds this view, Pew said. Notably, China leads the US by a two-to-one margin in Australia – a longtime US ally, but also a country whose top trading partner, by far, is China, Pew said.
Releasing results of the survey, Pew said over the past year, perceptions of relative US economic power have declined in many of America’s key trading partners and allies. The trend can be seen in several European countries,where views about the economic balance of power have fluctuated in recent years, it said. Pew said following the onset of the financial crisis nearly a decade ago, Europeans increasingly named China,rather than the US, as the world’s leading economic power. “But in recent years, as the American economy slowly recovered, the pendulum began to swing back in the direction of the US,” it said. This year, however, the pattern has reversed itself again, and in countries such as Germany, the United Kingdom and Spain, China is once more seen as occupying the top spot.”But these shifts are not limited to Europe; perceptions have also changed significantly in countries such as Canada,Brazil, Mexico and the Philippines,” Pew concluded.
However, both the leaders of China and the United States are perceived negatively globally, Pew said. While Xi is less known globally than Trump, Pew said a median of 53 per cent say they do not have confidence in Chinese President to do the right thing in world affairs. Still, a much greater share (74 per cent) express little or no confidence in Trump. The Russian President Vladimir Putin also receives slightly more negative assessments than Xi (59 per cent have no confidence). German Chancellor Angela Merkel is the only world leader included on the survey who receives positive marks on balance– 42 per cent have confidence in the long-serving leader, and just 31 per cent say they do not. In India along with Indonesia, and Vietnam there is a significant drop in public perception of China, Pew said. In South Korea, China’s favorably has fallen 27 points since spring 2015 and now hovers near historic lows, Pew said. According to Pew, in only five countries do more than half express confidence in Xi. Three – Tanzania, Nigeria and Senegal – are in sub-Saharan Africa. The Chinese president also gets high ratings in Russia and the Philippines, it said.