China’s GDP growth rebounds in milestone year with challenges, hopes ahead | Kathmandu Tribune

China’s gross domestic product expanded 8.1 percent year on year in 2021 despite sporadic epidemic resurgences and complicated external environment.

— China continued to lead the world in both economic development and epidemic control, but it still faces triple pressure of demand contraction, supply shocks, and weakening expectations amid an increasingly complicated external environment.

— To shore up growth, China’s central bank on Monday cut the interest rate of medium-term lending facility loans by 10 basis points to maintain reasonably ample liquidity.

BEIJING, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) — China’s economy saw a strong rebound in 2021 despite sporadic epidemic resurgences and complicated external environment, underlining the country’s capability of ensuring economic stability with swift policy response.

The country’s gross domestic product (GDP) expanded 8.1 percent year on year to 114.37 trillion yuan (about 18 trillion U.S. dollars) last year, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said Monday.

The pace was well above the government target of “above 6 percent” and put the two-year average growth at 5.1 percent, the data showed.

China continued to lead the world in both economic recovery and epidemic control in 2021, the NBS said, while warning of the triple pressure of demand contraction, supply shocks, and weakening expectations amid an increasingly complicated external environment.

Workers weld components at a workshop of an automobile manufacturing enterprise in Qingzhou City, east China’s Shandong Province, Feb. 28, 2021. (Photo by Wang Jilin/Xinhua)

Final consumption contributed 65.4 percent to the GDP expansion, while net exports contributed 20.9 percent, said NBS head Ning Jizhe at a press conference.

“China’s growth was among the fastest in major economies in the world last year,” said Ning, adding that the country’s GDP is estimated to account for more than 18 percent of the global total and contribute to some 25 percent of global GDP growth.

With effective measures to contain the spread of the epidemic, China was the only major economy to attain growth in 2020.

The year 2021 was of special importance for China as it marked the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China and the beginning of a new journey of building a modern socialist country — the Second Centenary Goal — by the mid-21st century.

It was also a year when the economy was faced with multiple headwinds rising from epidemic disruptions, extreme weather events, global energy crunch and hiking commodity prices — all testing the effectiveness of the country’s economic governance.

Policymakers have been carrying out innovations in macroeconomic regulations, stepping up targeted, precise and well-timed measures on top of range-based regulations, which facilitated economic stability, Ning said.

Aerial photo taken on Dec. 7, 2021 shows vehicles before being loaded onto a freight ship at Yantai Port, east China’s Shandong Province. (Photo by Tang Ke/Xinhua)

In breakdown, Monday’s data showed that retail sales saw a notable recovery, jumping 12.5 percent year on year. Fixed-asset investment posted stable growth of 4.9 percent, while value-added industrial output expanded 9.6 percent from a year earlier.

The country’s job market remained generally stable, with the surveyed urban unemployment rate standing at 5.1 percent, meeting the government target of “around 5.5 percent.”

The per capita GDP of China reached around 12,500 U.S. dollars in 2021, exceeding the global average, Ning noted.

The 8.1-percent growth was partly due to the statistical rebound after a GDP decline in the first half of 2020, normalization of domestic economic activity as the epidemic remained mostly controlled and strong export performance, said Martin Raiser, World Bank’s country director for China.

Aerial photo taken on Nov. 26, 2021 shows the Yachihe Bridge of Guiyang-Qianxi Expressway in southwest China’s Guizhou Province. (Xinhua/Ou Dongqu)

Going into 2022, the macroeconomic environment would be less benign as the stimulus in the advanced economies is being withdrawn while the developing countries still face substantial challenges related to the ongoing pandemic, which will result in weaker export demand, supply bottlenecks and cloudy global prospects, Raiser observed.

“From China’s perspective, however, these risks look manageable. China has domestic policy space and could thus support growth if needed,” he noted.

To shore up growth, China’s central bank on Monday cut the interest rate of medium-term lending facility loans by 10 basis points to maintain reasonably ample liquidity, following a cut in the one-year loan prime rate and a reduction in banks’ reserve requirement ratio in December.

China will continue implementing proactive fiscal policies and prudent monetary policies for steady economic progress this year, according to the annual Central Economic Work Conference held in December, which stressed that prudent monetary policies should be flexible and appropriate, and liquidity should be at a reasonable and ample level.

(Video reporter: Zhang Wen; video editors: Zhang Yucheng, Luo Hui.)

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