China's economy grows 4.8% in first quarter

China’s economy grows 4.8% in first quarter

AFP/ Beijing, China

China announced that its economy grew 4.8% annualized in the first quarter, despite the confinement by covid-19 in several cities, including Shanghai, its main business center.

The expansion of the first quarter of the year exceeds the 4% growth registered in the same period of 2021, reported the National Statistical Office (ONE) of China.

The Chinese economy is facing “important challenges,” acknowledged Fu Linghui, a statistician at ONE.

The world’s second largest economy began to lose steam in the second half of 2021 with a decline in the real estate sector and the rise of Covid-19 cases, which caused lockdowns in several cities.

Sanitary restrictions in some of the country’s main cities also affected retail and employment figures.

With this, pressure is growing on the authorities to reach the growth target of 5.5% by 2022, a key year for President Xi Jinping, who aspires to remain in power for another five years.

“We must understand that with the increasingly complicated and uncertain local and international environment, economic development faces increasing difficulties and challenges,” Linghui said in a statement.

more production

China saw an increase in its manufacturing output this year and consumption was boosted by the Lunar New Year holiday, but movement restrictions put in place in March due to the pandemic hit the economy.

Industrial production rose 5% in March, lower than the period in January and February, according to ONE.

Meanwhile, retail trade fell 3.5% and urban unemployment rose to 5.8% in March, said China’s official statistics agency.

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