China’s economy expands 8.1% in 2021 but shows slowing momentum

China’s economy expands 8.1% in 2021 but shows slowing momentum

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  • China recorded an economic growth of 8.1% for 2021, higher than expected
  • The 4.0% expansion in the fourth quarter is lower than the growth in the same period for 2020 and indicates a slowing of pace
  • The total value of exports in 2021 was up by 21.2%, while the total value of imports was up by 21.5%.

China recorded an economic growth of 8.1% for full-year 2021 year-over-year, higher than expected, but weaker growth in the fourth quarter indicates a slowing of momentum for the world’s second biggest economy.

China’s GDP rose by 8.1% over the previous year, far exceeding the government’s own targets, according to preliminary estimates released by the National Bureau of Statistics of China.

By quarter, the GDP for the first quarter went up by 18.3% year-on-year, by 7.9% for the second quarter, 4.9% for the third quarter, and 4.0% for the fourth quarter, the bureau said.

The 4.0% expansion in the fourth quarter is short of the 6.5% growth in the same period for 2020 and indicates a slowing of pace as the country contends with a worsening real estate crisis and fresh Covid outbreaks, and strictly implements a zero-tolerance policy toward the spread of the virus.

Growth in the fourth quarter was boosted by industrial production, which went up 4.3% in December 2021 from a year earlier and was higher than November’s 3.8% growth.

By industry, the value added of the primary industry increased by 7.1% in 2021 over the previous year; that of the secondary industry was up by 8.2%; and that of the tertiary industry was up by 8.2%.

The total value added of industrial enterprises above the designated size increased by 9.6% over the previous year, an average two-year growth of 6.1%. In terms of sectors, the value added of mining was up by 5.3%, that of manufacturing up by 9.8% and that of production and supply of electricity, thermal power, gas and water up by 11.4%. The value added of the high-tech manufacturing and equipment manufacturing went up by 18.2% and 12.9%, respectively.

By products, the production of new energy vehicles, industrial robots, integrated circuits, and micro computer equipment grew by 145.6%, 44.9%, 33.3%, and 22.3%, respectively.

The total output of grain in 2021 increase by 2.0% over the previous year, with rice up by 0.5%; wheat, up by 2.0%; corn, up by 4.6%; and soybean, down by 16.4%.

The total output of pork, beef, mutton and poultry in 2021 was up by 16.3% over the previous year. The output of pork was up by 28.8%; beef, up by 3.7%; mutton, up by 4.4%; poultry, up by 0.8%; milk, up by 7.1%; and eggs, down by 1.7%. 

In 2021, the total value of imports and exports of goods increased 21.4% over the previous year. Specifically, the total value of exports was up by 21.2%, while the total value of imports was up by 21.5%. The imports and exports of general trade grew by 24.7%, accounting for 61.6% of the total value of the imports and exports, an increase of 1.6 percentage points over the previous year.

The statistics bureau said that while China last year was generally able to sustain the recovery of the national economy, with major indicators reaching the expected targets, “we must be aware that the external environment is more complicated and uncertain, and the domestic economy is under the triple pressure of demand contraction, supply shock and weakening expectations.”

Photo by Haugenzhays Zhang on Unsplash

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