Newly-released figures suggest the Chinese economy is experiencing a strong post-pandemic resurgence.
According to figures released by China’s National Bureau of Statistics on Friday, 16 April, the Chinese economy grew 18.3% in the first quarter of 2021, the fastest growth on record. These record-breaking numbers come in comparison to the steep 6.8% slump in Q1 2020 caused by strict nationwide lockdowns in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The growth has been driven by robust exports stimulated by the gradual recovery of the global economy, as well as government support and investment in construction and infrastructure projects. Industrial output added 24.5% in Q1, growing by 14.1% year-on-year.
Retail sales also increased 34.2% year-on-year in March, meeting expectations. Domestic consumption is expected to play a greater role in supporting growth as the year goes on as consumers gradually start to feel more comfortable about a return to spending at pre-pandemic levels.
On a quarterly basis, economic growth during this quarter slowed to 0.6% from 3.2% in the previous quarter. Nevertheless, the country’s strong growth in the first three months of 2021 suggests that it is on track to meet its target of economic expansion of 6% or more this year as announced by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at the National People’s Congress in March. The IMF has predicted that China’s growth will be around 8.5% this year.