Chinese economic growth exceeds forecasts — RT Business News

The first quarter saw the fastest recovery pace in a year as consumer spending surged, official data shows

China’s economy saw higher than expected growth of 4.5% in the first quarter of 2023, official data released on Tuesday showed.

After three years of severe Covid-related restrictions, consumers went on a spending spree, while exports, infrastructure investment, and a rebound in property prices drove the recovery. The expansion exceeded analysts’ expectations of a 4% increase for the period. 

Last month, retail sales saw a surge of 10.6% from a year earlier, the largest monthly gain since June 2021. In January to March, retail sales grew 5.8%, mainly driven by an increase in revenue from the catering service industry.

At the same time, private investment was barely up, while wage growth also failed to return to normal. Youth unemployment soared to the second-highest level on record, while the nationwide urban jobless rate remained elevated.

Industrial production, however, saw a steady increase of 3.9% in March versus 2.4% in the January-to-February period. The surge is attributed to robust growth in cement output due to higher demand from the construction sector.

Production of vehicles also climbed as car exports surged. Meanwhile, micro computer equipment output dropped 22% and integrated circuit output also fell.

The positive GDP data has put Beijing on track to meet or even beat its growth goal of around 5% for the current year without a major additional stimulus. China and India are expected to account for half of global economic growth in 2023, according to the International Monetary Fund.

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