China Inches Up on U.S., Now World's No. 2 Economy

After thirty years of growth, China’s economy passed its neighbor Japan in the second quarter to become the second-largest economy in the world behind the United States, The New York Times reported Monday.

Japan’s second-quarter GDP figures recorded its economic output at $1.28 trillion, just short of China’s $1.33 trillion reported for the three months that ended in June.

Many had expected China to assume this position for some time as the value of the country’s economy had surpassed those of Germany, France and Great Britain in recent years. Yet despite the speculation, Monday’s announcement solidifies China’s place as a new economic superpower whose growth will most likely continue, The New York Times said. Experts have forecasted that China will even pass the U.S. as the world’s biggest economy as early as 2030, The Times reported.

“This has enormous significance,” Nicholas R. Lardy, an economist at the Peterson Institute for International Economics was quoted in The Times Monday. “It reconfirms what’s been happening for the better part of a decade: China has been eclipsing Japan economically. For everyone in China’s region, they’re now the biggest trading partner rather than the U.S. or Japan.”

The substantial slowdown of Japan’s economy in the last three months adds to the evidence that the global economy is losing momentum. The country recorded its growth at only 0.4 percent in the second quarter after revised 4.4 percent growth in the first three months of the year—figures substantially less than had been forecast.

The Wall Street Journal and Associated Press Contributed to this report