August 3rd, 2012
04:17 AM GMT
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Hong Kong (CNN) – Will China’s economy have a hard landing, soft touchdown or slow ascension?

The lack of strong action Thursday from the European Central Bank on Europe’s spiraling debt crisis – coupled with similar inaction from the U.S. Federal Reserve on the slowing U.S. economy earlier this week – has ratcheted global investor stress on how China will handle its own slowdown.

The question percolated throughout interviews on CNN International business shows this week.

“It is quite disturbing that Brazil and India have slowed down so much, obviously there’s this huge debate going on about China’s slowdown,” Jim O’Neill, chairman of asset management for Goldman Sachs, told Richard Quest when he argued the slowdown in developing behemoths like China and the rest of the BRIC bloc is more worrisome than the eurozone crisis.

Investor Mark Mobius, head of Templeton Emerging Markets Group, disagreed.

"A lot of people ask me if China is going to have a hard or soft landing," Mobius said. "And I say they are not landing. They're continuing to grow and they're growing at a pretty fast pace."

Still, the signs of a China slowdown are many. Inventories in factories are piling up, and companies ranging from electronics, airlines and sportswear have issued profit warnings.

“While the world fixates on what the Fed and the ECB have up their collective sleeves to stem the sovereign debt contagion and to spur growth, it appears to me that the policy prescriptions might need to include China,” wrote Mike Paulenoff of MPTrader.com. “As in, how to avert a hard landing?”

So, hard days ahead for China? Will its economy touch down gently, or is it likely to  trampoline – with help from Beijing – like it did in the wake of the 2008-2009 financial crisis?

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