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China’s economy grows 4.9% as other parts of the world fight the coronavirus

Beijing-Chinese officials said Monday that gross domestic product increased 4.9% year-on-year and returned the Chinese economy to its pre-coronavirus trajectory six months after the pandemic eradicated the economy.

4.9% growth was lower than expected in the third quarter, but China’s trajectory is at the beginning of the year, with growth of 5.5% to 6% in 2020, a forecast made before the pandemic spread around the world. It’s in line with expectations. It killed more than a million people and destroyed the world economy.

The third quarter expansion is based on 3.2% growth in the second quarter. This follows a 6.8% historic contraction in the first three months of this year, when authorities blocked Wuhan, a city in central China, to curb its rapid expansion. Virus.

The International Monetary Fund predicts that China’s economy will grow by 1.9% in 2020 and will be the only major global economy to grow in this pandemic year.

In contrast, the US economy is projected to shrink 4.3% and the euro area is projected to shrink 8.3%, the IMF said in its latest update this month.

Growth in the third quarter of Monday provided further evidence of China’s relative strength, moving China’s economy into a positive territory during the first nine months of the year, expanding 0.7% year-on-year.

Other economic indicators released on Monday provided additional signs of power. China’s main unemployment rate, the city survey unemployment rate fell to 5.4% in September, falling below Beijing’s target of about 6% to 5.6% in August.

China has revived its economy in about three stages. The first is a blockade that lasted primarily until the end of March, with the suspension of most economic activity beginning in late January.

After April, authorities sought to revive the factory again. With increased production, China was able to increase its share of global exports, and other exporting countries were suffering from their own blockades, so face masks and sterilization in addition to telecommuting computer equipment. We have shipped medical devices such as vessels to customers around the world.

If the second quarter represents the recovery of factories in China, the third quarter shows the recovery of consumers, authorities have almost completely eradicated the coronavirus within the border, giving consumers adventures out of the house and purses. I urged the opening.

China’s retail sales increased year-on-year for the first time in 2020 in August. China also said on Monday that September retail sales were up 3.3%, surpassing economists’ expectations of 1.7% growth.

Disposable income of Chinese citizens also turned to growth for the first time in the third quarter of this year, officials said Monday, up 0.6% year-on-year.

American consumer-centric companies operating in China are benefiting from the recovery in domestic demand.

Domino’s pizza Co., Ltd.

Richard Allison, CEO, told investors this month that China is “a great success story for 2020.”

“There has been a slowdown in several markets around the world, but China is definitely not one,” Alison said, predicting that China will soon grow into Ann Arbor, Michigan’s largest market. did.Outside the United States

McCormick, a manufacturer of spices and seasonings such as French mustard and old base seasoning, saw a 1% decline in global sales in the three months to August 31 due to a decline in demand from restaurants in Europe and the United States, but demand remains strong. Without China, it would be much worse.

In China, fast-food store traffic has “returned to near normal levels,” Lawrence Cruzius, chairman and chief executive officer of McCormick, based in Hunt Valley, Maryland, told investors late last month. Told.

Still, according to some indicators, personal consumption remains restrained.

Official figures show that 637 million people traveled the country and spent about $ 69 billion during the eight-day National Foundation Day vacation that began on October 1. That’s about 70% of last year’s short seven-day vacation spending. ..

China’s box office revenue, hit hard by movie theater capacity limits, is China’s second-highest October vacation, but still from last year’s record $ 750 million. far cry.

Consumers, hoping that a combination of stagnant demand, extended holidays, border closures, etc. will force travelers to direct their spending abroad to the domestic market, resulting in a stronger backlash. There is growing concern about the robustness of recovery.

Betty Wang, a senior China economist at investment bank ANZ, told clients, “Given the sharp drop in overseas travel, rebounds are lower than expected.” “It’s too early to be complacent.”

Two mothers, Xin Xin, flew to southwestern Yunnan with her husband and children for an eight-day vacation after a few months blockade in Beijing.

“This was my first real vacation. I don’t want to get stuck in the same city anymore,” Shin said. Airplane tickets were more expensive than usual as more people chose to travel domestically this year due to the long blockade and the difficulty of traveling abroad.

Hotels and other accommodations cost almost twice as much as usual, but rooms still surged quickly, Xin said. Prices for some 5-star hotels near tourist destinations have skyrocketed due to rising demand, and she had to stay in more modest accommodation.

Meanwhile, Zhou Mishi and her family stayed in Beijing for an eight-day break, stuffing five movies at the cinema.

Zhou and his family decided to take advantage of the fact that the movie theater was closed for several months and then reopened after being postponed to reports of massive traffic jams inside and outside the capital and around scenic spots in China. Did. The big screen resumed in late July, and Beijing municipal authorities now allow 75% occupancy in cinemas.

Zhou was surprised to see the theater almost full when he went to see an IMAX movie in the morning.

“I didn’t expect so many people to go to the movies,” she said.

Write to Jonathan Cheng (jonathan.cheng@wsj.com)

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