The Chinese economy recorded a record growth rate of 18.3 percent in the first quarter over a year
On Friday, China announced a record increase in its economic growth in the first quarter of the year, amounting to 18.3 percent over a year, especially because there is no basis for comparison with the beginning of 2020 when the Covid-19 epidemic paralyzed activity.
Analysts had expected this rapid growth in gross domestic product of 18.7 percent. This is the fastest pace of growth since China began publishing quarterly GDP numbers in 1992.
“The recovery generally continued in the first quarter” of the year, but “the foundations for recovery must be strengthened,” NBS spokeswoman Liu Aihua told reporters, referring in particular to the world’s persistent “uncertainties” regarding the epidemic.
HSBC Banking Group analyst Zhu Hongbin warned that the “unprecedented” weakness in having a basis for comparison with last year made “difficult to interpret” the economic data for the first quarter.
Meanwhile, last year, the gross domestic product (GDP) recorded a 6.8 percent decline in China’s worst economic performance in 44 years. Then, the gradual improvement in health conditions in the spring of 2020 allowed GDP to recover and return to its pre-pandemic level at the end of last year.
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Thus, China was able to record an increase in growth over the whole of 2020, amounting to 2.3 percent, while most other world economies were in recession.
Despite reservations about the accuracy of the official GDP report, analysts are watching with interest its development due to the country’s weight in the global economy.
For his part, Chinese industrial production increased in March by 14.1 percent over a year, compared to 35.1 percent for the months of January and February combined, according to the only available data. Retail sales, the leading indicator of consumption, rose 34.2 percent over one year in March, compared to 33.8 percent in January and February.
The unemployment rate, calculated for urban residents only, in March was 5.3 percent, after hitting an all-time high of 6.2 percent in February 2020, at the height of the epidemic.
After recovering from the shock of the epidemic, China aims to achieve growth of at least 6 percent this year, a number much more modest than most economists’ forecasts.