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Coronavirus: China’s economy returns to growth as lockdowns lifted

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China’s economy has recovered from a record contraction to post 3.2% growth in the second quarter compared to the same time last year.

The first quarter had seen the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) slump by 6.8% – the worst performance for decades.

But over the first half of the year, industrial output and property investment provided a boost able to offset falls in retail and property sales.

The growth surprised analysts, who had expected the figure to be around 2.5%, following a quarter during which lockdown measures ended and stimulus was boosted to help the economy recover.

Coronavirus began in China late last year and the country was the first to shut down and the first to reopen in March after the government said the virus was under control.

Senior members of the Chinese government gather at the Great Hall Of The People in Beijing
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China’s leadership has concentrated its COVID-19 financial support on businesses

Some industries, including manufacturing, are almost back to normal, but consumer spending remains weak with some businesses still closed and some travel restrictions still in place.

The Chinese government had tried a number of things to support the economic recovery, including more fiscal spending, tax relief, and cuts in lending rates.

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Rodrigo Catril, foreign exchange strategist at NAB in Sydney, said the data revealed a very one-sided fightback.

“While in general it’s fair to say that the numbers beat expectations, what the numbers also reveal is that we’re seeing that the China consumer remains behind in terms of the recovery story.

“It’s very much a story of government stimulus-led recovery, which is very much focused on the industrial side.

“The consumer remains very cautious.”

 

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