A renewed plunge in Chinese stock markets has stoked concerns among global investors about the health of the world's second-biggest economy. But as Sonia Legg reports, some say there is little evidence the outlook for China has darkened dramatically in recent weeks.
If evidence was needed on the global impact of China's slowdown, Peugeot has provided it. The French carmaker eked out a 1.2 percent gain in global vehicle deliveries last year. The slowdown in China and emerging markets almost cancelled out the European auto recovery. Sales rose around 6 percent in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. They were down almost 1 percent in China and Southeast Asia. Combine it with l falling oil prices and it's a worry, says James Hughes from GKFX. (SOUNDBITE) (ENGLISH): GKFX, CHIEF MARKET ANALYST, JAMES HUGHES, SAYING: "The likes of car sales is a big one, luxury goods is another one - these are key areas where a lot of those sales are pushed into China and when the fall continues I think it is those sorts of industries which are really going to struggle." The plunge in stock markets has stoked fears about China's economy. But not everyone is convinced the outlook is that bad. (SOUNDBITE) (ENGLISH): GKFX, CHIEF MARKET ANALYST, JAMES HUGHES, SAYING: "We are still looking at growth just below the seven percent mark, maybe six and half or six percent, but in the grand scheme of the world economy that's not necessarily bad. When you look at where it's fallen from you can see the way that people have exaggerated that so much." Manufacturing and investment have fuelled growth in China for three decades. And Beijing is now hoping consumers can pick up the slack. The service sector is doing well enough - with activity at a 16-month high in December. Vehicle and property sales are also up. Official growth figures are released next week. And the Beijing Morning Post was offering some crumbs of comfort ahead of it - restaurants it says are already fully booked for Chinese New Year next month.