London: China will overtake the United States to become the world's biggest economy in 2028, five years earlier than previously estimated due to the contrasting recoveries of the two countries from the COVID-19 pandemic, a think tank said.
"For some time, an overarching theme of global economics has been the economic and soft power struggle between the United States and China," the Centre for Economics and Business Research said in an annual report published on Saturday.
"The COVID-19 pandemic and corresponding economic fallout have certainly tipped this rivalry in China's favour."
The CEBR said China's 'skilful management of the pandemic', with its strict early lockdown, and hits to long-term growth in the West meant China's relative economic performance had improved.
China looked set for average economic growth of 5.7 per cent a year from 2021-25 before slowing to 4.5 per cent a year from 2026-30.
While the United States was likely to have a strong post-pandemic rebound in 2021, its growth would slow to 1.9 per cent a year between 2022 and 2024, and then to 1.6 per cent after that.
Japan would remain the world's third-biggest economy, in dollar terms, until the early 2030s when it would be overtaken by India, pushing Germany down from fourth to fifth.