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Xi’s growth goal pivots from quantity to quality

China’s latest trade data almost seems designed to make Donald Trump’s head explode.

As the former US leader clamors for relevance from his Florida lair, Beijing reminded us how much of a bust the trade war on which Trump pinned re-election really was. Though the US economy shows signs of stabilizing, China’s exports surged nearly 61% year-on-year in the first two months of 2021.

That shows two things. First, China is the vanguard of the global recovery. Second, Trump, in the end, barely laid a glove on Asia’s biggest economy.

But a third element might matter most to the global financial system. It’s how President Xi Jinping appears to have internalized the fallout from four years of trade warring and pivoted accordingly.