China’s GDP growth slows as Covid lockdowns and property concerns hit demand

China’s gross domestic product grew at its slowest pace in 18 months in the fourth quarter as the government grapples with its worst economic challenge since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Gross domestic product grew by 4% year-on-year, beating economists’ forecasts, but below the 6.5% growth rate for the same period in 2020, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed on Monday.

The PBOC also cut key lending rates for the first time since April 2020, in a series of easing measures Recent months have coincided with a slowdown in real estate and restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Data and policy initiatives confirm severe loss of motivation China’s economy has recovered from the initial impact of the pandemic much faster than other large economies, but has struggled to maintain pre-pandemic growth rates over the past year.

China’s economy grew 8.1% in all of 2021, but that figure was distorted by a historic collapse in economic activity in early 2020, with year-on-year growth slowing in each quarter of last year.

Ning Jizhe, director of the National Bureau of Statistics, said that in 2021, China will “maintain a sustained and stable recovery of the national economy and maintain a world-leading position in economic growth and epidemic prevention and control.”

But he added that “the domestic economy is facing a triple pressure of demand contraction, supply shock and weakening expectations”.

State takes drastic measures Eliminate all coronavirus casesThat underscored lingering weaknesses on the consumption front as big cities went into lockdown in recent weeks.Critical economic slowdown across the country real estate industry That weighed on the wider economy and sparked a global assessment of the industry’s health.

Although Exports are booming Industrial production rose 7.3% year-on-year in December 2020, compared with just 4.3% in the same month last year, thanks to China’s dominance in global merchandise trade.

Real estate investment rose 4.4% in 2021, while fixed-asset investment rose 4.9%, both of which slowed later in the year. Real estate investment fell 7.7% in the fourth quarter.

Retail sales rose just 1.7% in December from a year earlier, the slowest pace in 14 months, indicating continued consumer concern.

The Chinese government last year announced a push for what it called a common prosperity, emphasizing the willingness to close inequality gaps at the expense of economic growth.

In 2020, Beijing introduced policies lower leverage Among its largest property developers, last year caused a cash crunch across the industry, affecting land sales and construction.

By the third quarter of last year, growth had slowed markedly, leading to easing measures by the government, including lowering banks’ reserve requirements and cutting a key lending rate last month.

Adding to this easing pattern, the central bank cut the one-year policy lending rate by 10 basis points to 2.85% on Monday.

Additional reporting by Emma Zhou in Beijing

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