After a year of leading the global economy out of the pandemic slump, China’s growth is now starting to level off, as the world tries to assess whether the country’s recovery will continue or peter out.

The signs are mixed, with consumers and companies showing signs of both weakness and strength. The rising cost of raw materials is eating into the profits of factories and retailers, while exports remain strong. People are shopping more, but small businesses are suffering. Inflation is starting to make a comeback, muddying the data. And the ongoing uncertainty of the pandemic weighs over it all.

“It is unclear whether such a strong rebound in China and around the world can sustain itself in 2022,” said Zhu Ning, deputy dean of the Shanghai Advanced Institute of Finance.

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