China’s economy expands 5.2% in ‘23

Men work with a crane near an advertisement at a shopping mall in Beijing, Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2024. China's economy for the October-December quarter grew at a quicker rate, allowing the Chinese government to hit its target of about 5% annual growth for 2023 even though trade data and the economic recovery remain uneven.
Men work with a crane near an advertisement at a shopping mall in Beijing, Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2024. China's economy for the October-December quarter grew at a quicker rate, allowing the Chinese government to hit its target of about 5% annual growth for 2023 even though trade data and the economic recovery remain uneven. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

HONG KONG — China’s economy for the October-December quarter grew at a quicker rate, allowing the Chinese government to hit its target of about five percent annual growth for 2023 even though trade data and the economic recovery remain uneven.

Official data released Wednesday showed that the Chinese economy grew 5.2 percent for 2023, surpassing the target of "about five percent" that the government had set.

The growth for 2023 is likely helped by 2022’s gross domestic product of just three percent as China’s economy slowed due to Covid-19 and nationwide lockdowns during the pandemic. For the fourth quarter, China’s gross domestic product also grew at 5.2 percent compared to the same time last year. On a quarterly basis, the economy rose one percent in Q4, slowing from the expansion of 1.3 percent in July-September.

Officials from China’s National Bureau of Statistics said that measures including “strengthened macro regulation, and redoubled efforts to expand domestic demand, optimize structure, boost confidence and prevent and defuse risks” had helped improve the momentum of recovery, supply and demand.

Industrial output, which measures activity in the manufacturing, mining and utilities sectors, rose 4.6 percent in 2023 compared to a year earlier, while retail sales of consumer goods grew 7.2 percent.

Fixed-asset investment — spending on factory equipment, construction and other infrastructure projects to drive growth — grew three percent year on year in 2023.

However, indicators point to a largely uneven recovery for China. Trade data for December, released earlier this month, showed a slight growth in exports for a second straight month as well as a slight increase in imports. Consumer prices however fell for a third consecutive month as deflationary pressures persisted.

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