China’s GDP growth returned to modest growth in the second quarter this year after the Q1 GDP experienced a 6.8% contraction.
According to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on July 16, China’s GDP stood at 45.66 trillion yuan (about $6.53 trillion) in the first six months this year, down 1.6% year on year. However, the Q2 figure registered a growth of 3.2%, 10 percentage points higher than that in Q1.
NBS spokesperson Liu Aihua noted that the national economy gradually overcame the adverse impact of the epidemic in the first half of the year and demonstrated a momentum of restorative growth and gradual recovery, further manifesting its development resilience and vitality.
COVID-19 has brought unprecedented impacts since the beginning of this year, plunging the world economy into the worst recession after the World War II. Facing challenges, the whole Chinese nation coordinated efforts to advance both the prevention and control of the epidemic and socioeconomic development, and the national economy shifted from slowing down to rising in the first half of 2020 with economic growth in the second quarter changing from negative to positive and main indicators showing restorative growth. The national economy recovered gradually
The total value added by industrial enterprises above designated size grew by 4.4% in the second quarter and after declining by 8.4% in the first quarter, and the total value added by the tertiary industry grew by 1.9% in the second quarter after dropping by 5.2% in the first quarter.
In the April-June period, the decline of the total retail sales of consumer goods narrowed by 15.1 percentage points compared with that in the first quarter, while the decrease of the investment in fixed assets (excluding rural households) was 13 percentage points lower compared with that in the first quarter.
The monthly figures indicated more obvious signs of picking-up. The total value added by industrial enterprises above designated size grew for the third month in a row, and the Index of Services Production experienced growth for two consecutive months. Besides, the total value of exports also increased for the third straight month.
When China’s economy is accelerating its recovery, the basic livelihood of the Chinese people is ensured effectively and new growth drivers are replacing old ones.
In the first half, the newly increased employed people in urban areas totaled 5.64 million, accounting for 62.7% of the whole-year target. In June, the surveyed unemployment rate in urban areas was 5.7%, falling for two consecutive months. Specifically, the surveyed unemployment rate of population aged 25-59 was 5.2%, 0.5 percentage points lower than that of the surveyed unemployment rate in urban areas.
The increase of consumer prices showed a downward trend. In the first half-year, consumer price went up by 3.8% year-on-year, 1.1 percentage points lower than the first quarter figure.
The poverty alleviation drive has achieved outstanding results. In the first half of the year, in places with a large number of poor people such as Sichuan, Guizhou, and Guangxi, the nominal annual growth of per capita disposable income of rural resident was between 5.5% and 7.6%. The per capita old-age pension and retirement pensions increased by 9.3%, and social assistant grants and subsidies per capita increased by 13.2%, as China continued to strengthen social security and assist those most in need.
New growth drivers have become stronger in various emerging fields. In the first half, the added value of high-tech manufacturing and equipment manufacturing grew by 4.5% year-on-year, accounting for 14.7% of the added value of industries above designated size, an increase of 0.9 percentage points from the same period last year. Investment in the high-tech sector continued to increase. Online retail sales reached 5.15 trillion yuan, growing by 7.3% year on year, while that fell by 0.8% in the first quarter.
“The recovery of economic indicators in the first half of the year, especially in the second quarter, shows that the economy’s sustained recovery in the second half of the year has foundations,” said Liu, who’s also the director general of the Department of Comprehensive Statistics at NBS.
Since March, many indicators have seen significant gains or narrower declines, and the stable economic recovery in the first half of the year has laid a solid foundation for a sustained recovery in the second half of the year, which indicates that the impact of the pandemic is generally controllable, and the Chinese economy has a strong capacity for self-adjustment.
“China has a perfect industrial system, increasingly sophisticated infrastructure and the advantages of a super large market, which will continue to help respond effectively to the impact of the pandemic in the next stage,” Liu said.
During the first half of the year, new business models, such as working from home, online education, intelligent construction, and driverless delivery, have efficiently resolved some problems in people’s lives. New technologies, such as cloud computing, big data and artificial intelligence, are developing rapidly. New industries, such as the digital economy, smart manufacturing and life and health, have become new growth poles.
The investment in high-tech manufacturing industries and high-tech services went up by 5.8% and 7.2% respectively. In terms of high-tech services, the investment in services for e-commerce services and commercialization of scientific and technological research findings grew by 32% and 21.8% respectively. The growth of new businesses and industries will continue offering strong support for China’s economic recovery.
During the first half of this year, to deal with the pandemic’s impact, China has provided fiscal and taxation support, financial support and comprehensively strengthened the policy of giving top priority to employment. All these policies have paid off so far. Meanwhile, the epidemic has exposed some problems, which prompted the country to further address problems and reinforce weak links. China will step up innovation to strengthen the basis for sustained growth and vitality of the economy.
“Given these favorable conditions, we are confident of a sustained economic recovery in the second half of the year. Meanwhile, economic recovery has its foundations, potential and conditions to be realized,” Liu remarked.