Employees working on a dry transformer production line at an electrical manufacturing plant in Haian, Jiangsu Province, China, on January 4, 2021.
Stringer | AFP | Getty Images
BEIJING – China reported GDP rose 2.3% last year as the world struggled to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
However, Chinese consumers remained reluctant to spend as retail sales contracted 3.9% this year. Retail sales for the fourth quarter are up 4.6% from a year ago.
Gross domestic product grew by 6.5% in the fourth quarter compared to a year ago.
Economists expected China to be the only major economy to grow last year, predicting GDP to grow by just over 2%.
Covid-19 first surfaced in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019. In an effort to get the virus under control, Chinese authorities closed more than half of the country and the economy shrank 6.8% in the first three months of 2020.
However, China returned to growth in the second quarter. Economists polled by Reuters predicted GDP to grow 6.1% in the fourth quarter, faster than the 4.9% rate in the previous quarter.
China’s GDP growth rate is set to hit a diminished level this year.
In late December, the National Bureau of Statistics cut China’s official growth rate for 2019 to 6.0% from the 6.1% previously reported. The cut was mainly in manufacturing, as factories faced new US tariffs on billions of dollars in Chinese goods.