CHINA ECONOMY GROWS 2.3% IN 2020
China eked out 2.3% economic growth in 2020, likely becoming the only major economy to expand as shops and factories reopened relatively early from a shutdown to fight the coronavirus while the United States, Japan and Europe struggled with rising infections, Joe McDonald reported for Associated Press (AP).
Growth in the three months ending in December rose to 6.5% over a year earlier as consumers returned to shopping malls, restaurants and cinemas, official data showed Monday. That was up from the previous quarter’s 4.9% and stronger than many forecasters expected.
In early 2020, activity contracted by 6.8% in the first quarter as the ruling Communist Party took the then-unprecedented step of shutting down most of its economy to fight the virus.
The following quarter, China became the first major country to grow again with a 3.2% expansion after the party declared victory over the virus in March and allowed factories, shops and offices to reopen.
Total activity in 2020 was 102 trillion yuan ($15.6 trillion), according to the government.
That is about 75% the size of the $20.8 trillion forecast by the IMF for the US economy, which is expected to shrink by 4.3% from 2019.
The IMF estimates China will be about 90% of the size of the US economy by 2025, though with more than four times as many people average income will be lower.
Exports rose 3.6% last year despite the tariff war with Washington. Exporters took market share from foreign competitors that still faced anti-virus restrictions.
Retail spending contracted by 3.9% over 2019 but gained 4.6% in December over a year earlier as demand revived. Consumer spending recovered to above the previous year’s levels in the quarter ending in September.
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