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China’s economy sees record growth after Covid-19 pandemic slump

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The Chinese economy has shaken off the aftermath of the coronavirus crisis, expanding at a record pace of 18.3% in the first three months of 2021 compared to a year ago.

The figures for the country’s economic performance were published by China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Friday. The over 18-percent surge became the best quarterly growth since at least 1992 when quarterly gross domestic product (GDP) records began. The results were largely in line with the expectations of economists polled by Bloomberg, who predicted GDP would jump by 18.5%. However, some expected China’s economic output would be even higher, with analysts polled by Reuters predicting a 19% increase.
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The year-on-year surge was buoyed by a low base, as the world’s second-largest economy shrank by a record 6.8% in the first quarter of 2020, when production and movement in the country were paralyzed due to the Covid-19 outbreak. China was the first country to face the deadly virus but was also the first to largely contain it, becoming the only major economy not to report an annual downturn in 2020.

Given the low-base factor, some analysts pointed out that a quarter-on-quarter basis can give a better reading of China’s economic performance. According to the official statistics, the country’s GDP gained 0.6% in January-March from an upwardly revised 3.2% growth in the fourth quarter. That is lower than analysts forecasted, as they expected the quarterly growth to stand at 1.4%, according to Bloomberg.

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The statistics bureau noted that the Chinese economy “presented continued momentum of stable recovery” at the beginning of the year, but cautioned that the “international landscape is complicated with high uncertainties and instabilities” in the wake of the pandemic.

“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,” NBS spokeswoman Liu Aihua said as cited by the South China Morning Post.

While China’s post-Covid-19 rebound is leveling off and the economy is set to grow at a more steady pace, the government expects its GDP to expand more than 6% this year.

Earlier this week, China reported an over 30% increase in exports for March marking the ninth consecutive period of growth amid strengthening domestic demand. Customs statistics also showed that inbound shipments were up more than 38% last month in US dollar terms compared to the same period last year.

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This article originally appeared on RT Business News

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China’s economy sees record growth after Covid-19 pandemic slump
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