China’s economic growth slows to still-robust 7.9%

Beijing: China’s economic growth slowed to a still-strong 7.9 per cent over a year earlier in the three months ending in June as a rebound from the coronavirus levelled off.

Growth slowed from the previous quarter’s explosive 18.3 per cent expansion, which was magnified by comparison with early 2020, when the economy shut down to fight the coronavirus.

The economy expanded at a 1.3 per cent pace in the April-June quarter compared with the previous three months, the way other major economies report results.

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That reflects a return to normal for factory activity and consumer spending as government stimulus and easy credit wind down. It was faster than the 0.6 per cent expansion in the previous quarter over the final three months of 2020, which had prompted warnings the rebound was ending.

China’s economy sustained a steady recovery with production and demand picking up, the National Bureau of Statistics said in a statement.

Manufacturing, auto sales and consumer spending have recovered to above pre-pandemic levels since the ruling Communist Party declared victory over the coronavirus last March and allowed factories and stores to reopen.

Still, growth in retail spending has been weaker than expected. That prompted Beijing to inject extra money last week into the pool available for lending to shore up business and consumer activity. But the central bank and economic planners say they are sticking to long-term plans that call for a return to normal policy.

The International Monetary Fund and private sector forecasters expect economic growth of about 8 per cent this year but say it should slow markedly in 2022.

Retail spending in June rose 12.1 per cent over a year earlier. That was down from the 13.9 per cent for the full quarter and well below the 33.9 per cent surge in the January-March quarter.

Factory output rose 8.3 per cent in June over a year ago. Compared with May, it was up 0.6 per cent.

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