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China says its economy grew 2.3% in 2020, but consumer spending fell

Hands working on a dry-type transformer production line at an electrical production factory in Haian, in eastern China’s Jiangsu territory on Jan. 4, 2021.

Stringer | AFP | Getty Images

BEIJING — China reported GDP rose 2.3% last year as the world struggled to in the coronavirus pandemic.

Gross domestic product grew by 6.5% in the fourth quarter from a year ago, official figures from National Bureau of Statistics showed.

However, Chinese consumers remained reluctant to spend, as retail trades contracted 3.9% for the year. Retail sales for the fourth quarter rose 4.6% from a year ago.

Online sales events of consumer goods rose at a relatively rapid pace of 14.8% last year, the statistics bureau said, but the quota of overall retail sales held fairly steady at around one-fourth.

Economists expected China to have been the no more than major economy to grow last year, and predicted GDP expanded by just over 2%.

Covid-19 first emerged in the Chinese see of Wuhan in late 2019. In an effort to control the virus, Chinese authorities shut down more than half the nation, and the economy contracted by 6.8% in the first three months of 2020.

However, China returned to growth by the second quarter. Economists voted by Reuters predicted GDP would increase 6.1% in the fourth quarter, faster than the 4.9% pace of the prior place.

China’s GDP growth figure this year will come off a lowered base.

In late December, the National Section of Statistics lowered China’s official growth rate for 2019 to 6.0%, versus the previously reported 6.1%. The cut on the whole occurred in manufacturing, as factories dealt with new U.S. tariffs on billions of dollars’ worth of Chinese goods.

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