China’s economy on track to recover from outbreaks

BEIJING: China’s economy is on the road to recovery despite some indicators contracting in April, as its fundamentals remain resilient and growth-friendly policies are helping to cushion the impact of the coronavirus pandemic in the country.

Value-added industrial production, which measures the activities of factories, jumped 4% year-on-year in the first four months of 2022, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed on Monday.

Capital investment jumped 6.8% from a year ago, while investment in high-tech industries jumped 22%.

By contrast, retail sales, a significant indicator of the strength of Chinese consumption, fell 0.2% year-on-year from January to April due to outbreaks fueled by the Omicron variant in several cities, including Shanghai and China. capital Beijing.

The recorded average urban unemployment rate was 5.7% in the first four months, with some 4.06 million jobs created.

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The country’s economy was hit by the continued spike in Covid-19 cases last month, but NBS spokesman Fu Linghui assured that its impact was “short-lived and external”.

With its huge market, complete industrial and supply chains and strong domestic demand, the world’s second-largest economy is resilient enough to weather all kinds of challenges, he said.

Mix of policies

China has taken various measures to ease the burden that Covid-19 is placing on businesses.

Major state-owned banks are expected to increase inclusive lending for micro and small businesses by 1.6 trillion yuan (about 235.74 billion U.S. dollars) this year to expand financial support for businesses, according to a business council executive meeting. of state at the beginning of the month.

The meeting also called on banks to renew loans, extend and adjust repayment terms and waive late payment interest for micro, small and medium enterprises and self-employed households, where applicable.

The country also unveiled several measures, including tax refunds and fee reductions, postponing payment of social security contributions, and smoothing industrial and supply chains to strengthen market entities.

Looking ahead, China will step up its macroeconomic policy adjustment and ease the impact of the pandemic to ensure the economy grows at a healthy pace, Fu said.

With the pandemic under control, production and people’s lives are returning to normal in a growing number of cities.

On Monday, Shanghai, the country’s largest city and financial hub, gradually began reopening businesses, such as shopping malls, vegetable markets and hair salons.

As of now, nearly half of Shanghai’s 9,000 major industrial enterprises with an annual main turnover of at least 20 million yuan have resumed operations.

“China’s economy is expected to improve in May with the accelerated resumption of work and production in Shanghai and Jilin, as well as the implementation of pro-growth measures,” Fu said.

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