Employees working on a dry-type transformer production line at an power generation factory in Hain on January 4, 2021 in Jiangsu Province, East China.
Stringer | AFP | Getty Images
BEIJING – China reported GDP increases of 2.3% last year as the world struggled to stop the coronovirus epidemic.
Gross domestic product increased 6.5% in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, official data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed.
However, Chinese consumers were reluctant to spend, as retail sales contracted 3.9% for the year. Retail sales were up 4.6% in the fourth quarter from a year earlier.
The Bureau of Statistics said that online sales of consumer goods grew at a relatively fast pace of 14.8% last year, but the proportion of total retail sales is fairly stable.
Economists expected China to be the only major economy to grow last year, and GDP forecasts were just over 2%.
Kovid-19 first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019. In an effort to control the virus, Chinese authorities closed more than half the country, and the economy narrowed to 6.8% in the first three months of 2020.
However, China returned to growth in the second quarter. Economists forecast by Reuters estimated GDP to grow 6.1% in the fourth quarter, higher than the 4.9% pace in the prior quarter.
This year China’s GDP growth figure will come on a low base.
In late December, the National Bureau of Statistics reduced China’s official growth rate to 6.0% for 2019, down from 6.1% previously reported. This reduction occurred mainly in the manufacturing sector, as factories put Chinese goods on billions of dollars worth of new goods.
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