Business & Economy

Chinese industrial output reaches year-high in November

Shanghai, China, Dec 15 (efe-epa).- China’s industrial output grew by 7 percent year-on-year in November, expanding for the eighth consecutive month after slumping in the first quarter due to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to data published by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Tuesday.

The figure is in line with analysts’ expectations and also represents an increase of 0.1 percentage points over the rise posted in October (6.9 percent). It is also the indicator’s best showing so far this year.

The recovery of industrial output in the last eight months means that, despite the collapse at the beginning of the year – in the first two months, the official figure was -13.5 percent – activity has already posted an accumulated expansion of 2.3 percent until November after starting to grow again from April.

British consulting firm Capital Economics said that one of the main drivers of this expansion was external demand, since the increase in exports of industrial products was the highest in the last two years, along with government stimulus.

However, it believes that interest in Chinese products will wane as vaccines begin to reverse recent changes in global consumption patterns.

According to NBS’ data, output of private firms rose more (+6.8 percent) than that of state-owned companies (+5.9 percent).

Among the three main categories in which the NBS divides this indicator, the growth of manufacturing stands out (+7.7 percent). Within this sector, technology grew even faster, by 10.8 percent.

Somewhat less spectacular were the increases in mining output (+2 percent) and the production and supply of electricity, gas, heating and water (+5.4 percent), the other two basic sectors.

The indicator is based on the results of industrial firms with annual revenues above 20 million yuan ($3.1 million).

The statistics agency also compares the data of 41 industrial sub-sectors, of which 34 experienced an increase in their activity in November over the same month of 2019.

Among the products whose manufacturing expanded the most in November were electric vehicles (+99 percent), energy-generating equipment (+39.6 percent) and industrial robots (+31.7 percent).

In the case of electric vehicles, it should be noted that the comparative base was low as their production contracted significantly at the end of 2019 due to the strict restriction of the subsidies that were given for their purchase imposed earlier that year.

The NBS also released other useful indicators to measure the country’s economic recovery such as retail sales, which despite rising by 5 percent in November continues to register a 4.8 percent decline in the accumulated figure for the first 11 months of the year, something that seems to indicate that demand has still not fully recovered despite the fact that China appears to have the pandemic under control.

However, according to Capital Economics, the positive trend of this indicator will continue as households continue to spend the extra savings that they accumulated throughout the year.

On the other hand, investment in fixed assets rose by 2.6 percent in November and the official urban unemployment rate fell by 0.1 points compared to October to stand at 5.2 percent.

Thus, in general terms, the NBS considers that in the penultimate month of 2020, the Chinese economy “maintained steady recovery.” EFE-EPA

vec/pd/tw

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