The world’s second-largest economy accelerated its recovery in the third quarter, growing 4.9 percent from a year ago, according to new data from China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
The preliminary estimates show that China’s GDP totaled 72.3 trillion yuan (around $11 trillion) through September this year, the agency announced on Monday. That brings growth for the first nine months of 2020 to 0.7 percent year-on-year.
China showed its first signs of recovery in the previous quarter, when it avoided falling into a recession like most of its peers, and its GDP jumped 3.2 percent. That came after the country’s economy, which was the first to feel the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, shrank by a record 6.8 percent in the first three months of the year.
The positive results came after consumer activity picked up in September, with the data showing 3.3-percent growth in retail sales compared to a year ago. While the key sector posted the first positive quarterly growth this year, total retail sales of consumer goods were still down by 7.2 percent year-on-year. The unemployment rate also dropped to 5.4 percent in September, 0.2 percent less that it was a month earlier.
The latest figures released by China’s statistics agency show that industrial production increased by 6.9 percent in September from a year earlier after a 5.6-percent rise in August.
Strong export growth in the third quarter, spurred by global demand for medical equipment and electronics, may have helped the positive GDP results.
“Generally speaking, the overall national economy continued the steady recovery and significant results have been delivered in coordinating epidemic prevention and development,” the NBS said in a statement.
“However, we should also be aware that the international environment is still complicated and severe with considerable instabilities and uncertainties, and that we are under great pressure of forestalling epidemic transmissions from abroad and its resurgence at home,” the bureau said, noting that the recovery process is ongoing.
Despite missing economists’ forecasts for a 5.5-percent expansion, China is still the only major economy that has managed to rebound during the worst global slump since the Great Depression.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) earlier said that it expects China to be the only major economy to record annual growth this year. The IMF forecasts it to grow 1.9 percent, while global GDP is set to plunge by 4.4 percent.
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