Chinese economy cements recovery, better growth expected for 2020

China’s key economic indicators for November unveiled Tuesday showed strengthening recovery, indicating a world-beating growth trend, as consumption and investment gradually return to normal levels.

Retail and investment, two main growth drivers, have picked up the pace, with market entities and the employment sector showing strong vitality in November, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Retail sales of consumer goods went up 5 percent year on year in November, up from the 4.3-percent surge in October, sustaining the upward momentum since the major consumption gauge posted its first positive growth in August this year.

Fixed-asset investment edged up 2.6 percent year on year in the first 11 months of the year, up 0.8 percentage points from the rise in the first 10 months. During the January-November period, investment by the private sector rose 0.2 percent, the first growth registered this year. The surveyed urban unemployment rate stood at 5.2 percent in November, registering a four-month declining streak.

Shining light on the November data, NBS spokesperson Fu Linghui said the sustained recovery fully demonstrated the economy’s strong resilience and potential in the face of unprecedented COVID-19 impact.

Fu added that major gauges in November pointed to faster economic growth in Q4 from Q3, as both production and demand have continued to soar steadily.

“Looking ahead, China is expected to become the only major economy in the world to achieve positive growth in 2020,” Fu told a press conference. “As the economy gradually returns to normal operation, a better economic growth for the whole 2020 is expected.”

Thanks to robust year-on-year growth of 4.9 percent in its gross domestic product in the third quarter, the country’s economy expanded 0.7 percent in the first nine months, bucking a 1.6 percent contraction in the first half year and a 6.8 percent contraction in the first quarter when the virus took its toll.

In the latest World Economic Outlook report released in October, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) projected China’s economy to grow 1.9 percent in 2020, 0.9 percentage points higher than the IMF’s June forecast, which would make China the only major economy to register positive growth this year.

China did not set any numerical growth target this year. In the second half of 2020, domestic investment and consumer demand have continued to recover, and this positive trend could extend in 2021.

“China’s economy will run with many favorable factors next year, and it is more likely that the economy will gradually return to the potential growth level,” Fu said, adding that the growth rate in 2021 may be relatively high due to the low base this year.

Wen Bin, chief analyst with the China Minsheng Bank, attributed the economic recovery to accelerated production and rising demand in China.

“There’s still large room for improvement,” Wen said, adding that boosting consumption demand is critical to the country’s future economic recovery.

China aims to keep the economy running within a reasonable range and adhere to the strategy of expanding domestic demand in the coming year, according to a statement released Friday after a meeting, which analyzed the economic work for 2021, of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee.

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