Millennium Post (Kolkata)

China’s economy surges to record 18.3% in first quarter

The GDP reached 24.93 trillion yuan (about $3.82 trillion) in Q1, data released by the NBS says


BEIJING: China’s economy grew a record 18.3 per cent in the first quarter of 2021, riding on strong domestic and foreign demand and aided by recovery from a low base in early 2020 when COVID-19 stalled the world’s second-largest economy, according to statistics released on Friday.

The gross domestic product (GDP) reached 24.93 trillion Yuan (about $3.82 trillion) in Q1, data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said.

This is the highest quarterly growth rate since China first began publishing GDP data in 1993.

The double-digit growth puts the average Q1 growth of 2020 and 2021 at 5 per cent from the 2019 level, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

In the first three months, China saw a steady industrial production rebound, improvemen­t in market sales, recovery in fixed-asset investment, and noticeable momentum in foreign trade of goods, it said.

China’s economy, which was the first to be hit by the coronaviru­s pandemic when it broke out in central China’s Wuhan city in late 2019, and early to recover from its impact, grew 2.3 per cent in 2020, registerin­g the lowest annual growth rate in 45 years.

The GDP of the world’s second-largest economy grew by 2.3 per cent expanding to $15.42 trillion in 2020, according to the data released by the NBS said.

In the local currency, the GDP exceeded the 100 trillion Yuan ($15.42 trillion) threshold to 101.5986 trillion yuan.

Early this month, the IMF increased China’s GDP projection to 8.4 per cent for this year, a 10-year high but cautioned that the growth is unbalanced and private consumptio­n has not recovered as fast.

The IMF projection is higher than the over six per cent target fixed by the Chinese government for this year.

In its World Economic Outlook, the IMF also cautioned Beijing to address its high corporate debt levels resulting from the easy monetary policy put in place during the coronaviru­s pandemic.

It’s still very heavily reliant on public investment. And private consumptio­n has not recovered as fast as we would have hoped, Gita Gopinath, the IMF’s chief economist and director of research, said while releasing the report.

China-US tensions that remain elevated on multiple fronts, ranging from internatio­nal trade to intellectu­al property and cybersecur­ity, also got a mention in the report.

“Domestic economic disparitie­s arising from the pandemic downturn may also prompt new trade barriers Amid already high levels of trade restrictio­ns, such actions would add to inefficien­cies and weigh on the recovery. Furthermor­e, risks of protection­ist tendencies surroundin­g technology are emerging,” the IMF report said.

The IMF has also advised China to further address its high corporate debt levels that have resulted from the easy monetary policy put in place during the coronaviru­s pandemic.

Releasing the Q1 data on Friday, NBS spokeswoma­n Liu Aihua said the economic recovery in the first quarter of this year continued, and positive factors are accumulati­ng .

At the same time, we must also see that the COVID-19 epidemic is still spreading globally, the internatio­nal landscape is complicate­d and severe, the foundation for domestic economic recovery is not yet solid, and some service industries and small and micro enterprise­s are still facing more difficulti­es in their production and operation, Liu was quoted by the Hong Kong-based The South China Morning Post as saying.

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