Business & Economy

China: Q1 growth beats expectations amid forecast of downturn for Q2

Shanghai, China, Apr 18 (EFE).- China’s economy grew by 4.8% in the first quarter, but analysts warned growth would not be sustained in the next quarter due to the toll harsh Covid-19 restrictions would have on the economy as Beijing grapples with its worst outbreak since the pandemic began.

China’s National Bureau of Statistics said growth had exceeded the forecasts of experts, who had predicted GDP would grow by 4.4% during early 2022.

According to NBS, China recorded a 1.3% growth from the previous quarter, and “the national economic recovery was sustained and the operation of the economy was generally stable.”

The primary sector grew by 6% year-on-year, the secondary sector by 5.8%, and the tertiary by 4%, the bureau said in its quarterly report.

The statistics office added that an “increasingly grave and complex international environment” and frequent domestic Covid-19 outbreaks were testing the national economy.

Despite an upbeat report, experts did warn certain data pointed toward a downturn in the economy.

Retail sales slumped considerably in March, contracting by 1.93% compared to the previous month.

The official unemployment rate in urban areas was the lowest it has been in the last 22 months at 5.8%, higher than Beijing’s target for this year of 5.5%.

As Covid outbreaks continue to spread across mainland China, authorities continue entrenched in a zero-tolerance strategy resulting in restrictions that are hampering economic activity.

“The worst is still to come for China’s export sector,” Julian Evans-Pritchard, senior economist at Capital Economics, warned.

“The figures probably understate the slowdown. And growth looks set to be even weaker in Q2 given the mounting disruption from the recent Covid-19 outbreak,” the expert added in his analysis of the quarterly report.

According to the economist, this would not be the first time that official GDP data has apparently minimized the scope of an economic slowdown in China. EFE


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