China’s economic growth picks up as world struggles with COVID-19

Beijing: As the world reels under the impact of COVID-19, China—the country where the pandemic began in December last year, became the first major economy to return to growth. China’s GDP grew by 4.9 per cent in the Q3 as a shaky recovery of the economy from COVID-19 gathered strength.

Factory output rose, boosted by global demand for masks and other medical supplies, while retail spending returned to pre-virus levels for the first time, government data showed.

The world’s second-largest economy expanded by 3.2 per cent over a year earlier in the three months ending in June, rebounding from the previous quarter’s 6.8% contraction, its worst performance since at least the mid-1960s.

The economy “continued the steady recovery,” the National Bureau of Statistics said in a report. However, it warned, “the international environment is still complicated and severe.” It said China still faces “great pressure” to prevent a resurgence of the virus.

Economists say China is likely to recover faster than some other major economies due to the ruling Communist Party’s decision to impose the most intensive anti-disease measures in history. Those temporarily cut off most access to cities with a total of 60 million people.

Authorities have lifted curbs on travel and business, but visitors to government and other public buildings still are checked for the virus. Travelers arriving from abroad must be quarantined for two weeks. Last week, more than 10 million people were tested for the virus in the eastern port of Qingdao after 12 cases were found there. That broke a two-month streak with no virus transmissions reported within China.

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