The US will remain wealthier than China for the next 50 years or more – long after the Asian economy is expected to overtake the US to become the largest in the world, an economist said Friday.

“I think it is very unlikely that … China will reach US GDP per capita for at least the next 50 years, if at all – that is our measure of prosperity,” said Simon Baptist, chief global economist for the Economist Intelligence Unit. said CNBC’s Street Signs Asia.

GDP per capita measures the performance of an economy per person and is a common measure of prosperity.

The latest available data from the International Monetary Fund showed that China’s GDP per capita was projected to be $ 10,582.10 in 2020 – roughly six times less than the US $ 63,051.40

Baptist’s comments followed Joe Biden’s first official press conference since taking office, at which the US president said he would not let China become “the leading country” in the world.

“I see tough competition with China. China has an overall goal – and I am not criticizing them for the goal. But they have the overall goal of becoming the leading country, the richest country in the world and the most powerful country in the world.” World, “said Biden.

“That won’t happen on my watch,” he added.

US-China can be “evenly matched”

Baptist said China would be “the other very great power” on the global stage alongside the US. Which of the two is more powerful depends on where they wield that power, he added.

“I think in Asia it will likely be very difficult for the US to remain the most powerful country into the 2030s, but it will stay the same for quite a long time,” said Baptist.

China is said to be the largest economy in the world

The Chinese economy – expressed in nominal US dollars – is set to overtake the US by 2032 and become the largest in the world, Baptist said. That forecast was brought forward from 2034 because of the Covid-19 pandemic, he added.

China has made a strong recovery from the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus. It was the only major economy that grew last year after GDP growth of 2.3%. In contrast, the U.S. economy contracted 3.5% year over year in 2020, the Bureau of Economic Analysis estimated.

The Baptist’s prognosis seemed more conservative than that of others. Helen Qiao, head of Asian economics at Bank of America Global Research, told CNBC last month that China’s economy will outperform the US between 2027 and 2028.

The US economy “is ultimately getting smaller just because China’s population is so much larger,” said Baptist. “Now it doesn’t really mean anything for your dollar-worth of GDP to gain the upper hand, but it’s a small milestone.”