China’s Q1 GDP expected to surge 20%, shaking off coronavirus cloud
Published: Apr 15, 2021 04:57 PM
Workers at a cotton textile factory in Aksu City, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, northwest China, March 29, 2021. (Photo/CGTN)

Workers at a cotton textile factory in Aksu City, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, northwest China, March 29, 2021. (Photo/CGTN)

China's GDP during the first three months of 2021 is projected to grow at approximately 20 percent from last year, with major economic indicators all expected to expand at more than 20 percent, picking up a stellar economic rebounding since the second half of 2020, and the growth was buoyed by a low base, soaring overseas demand and reviving consumption at home. 

Looking ahead, the economy is forecasted to keep a stable growth, but it may enter "unchartered waters" in the second half of the year as geopolitical tensions keep heightening, and the marginal effect of global economic recovery has weakened.

Some analysts are upbeat about China's GDP which might gain by a double-digit growth in the second quarter. For the whole year, the annual growth rate could reach 9 percent, well above the government's set goal of above 6 percent.

In the first three months of the year, overall social retail and fixed-asset investment are estimated to have grown by over 20 percent, while industrial production is expected to jump 30 percent, several economists told the Global Times.

China's National Bureau of Statistics will release its first-quarter economic data on Friday. 

"The industrial manufacturing capability climbed in March compared with the January-February period, as seasonal factors eased and production quickly normalized thanks to the 'stay-at-workplace' policy during the Spring Festival holiday," Lian Ping, head of the Zhixin Investment Research Institute, told the Global Times on Thursday.

Tian Yun, vice director of the Beijing Economic Operation Association, said that skyrocketing overseas orders for Chinese goods were shoring up China's GDP growth in the first three months.

"The global economy seems to be walking out of the pandemic-induced recession, which will boost foreign demands for Chinese merchandises till at least June. This stays in contrast to last year, when the recovery of supply side outpaced that of the demand side," Tian told the Global Times on Thursday. 

March also marks a turning point from which China's consumption moved from "divergent recovery" to "in full swing," some analysts said. 

"Millions of Chinese stay at their working cities during the Spring Festival holiday, which coupled with the sporadic coronavirus cases then, curbed consumption to some extent. With the rollout of vaccinations across the country, there is a turnaround in March," Lian said.

During the first quarter of 2020, China's economy plunged 6.8 percent year-on-year as economic activities came to a standstill amid coronavirus lockdowns. Industrial production dropped 8.4 percent, fixed-asset investment fell 16.1 percent, and retail sales were down 19 percent in the first three months last year. 

Analysts said that while China's industrial production is back on track, the growth of fixed-investment and retail consumption have yet to bounce  back to pre-virus level.

Lian noted that as global supply ability gradually resumed this year, some China-bound commodity orders may experience a withdrawal, or to be diverted to other emerging economies, which may impact manufacturing activity. 

"The growth rates of GDP may come down quarter by quarter in 2021, due to base variation and replacement effect, but it is highly likely that the growth rate will be around 10 percent as demands at home keep booming," Tian said.

China will continue to be the major engine of the global recovery, and it is expected to make the largest contribution to the global economy growth in the first quarter, the analysts noted. 

In the fourth quarter of 2020, China's GDP grew 6.5 percent year-on-year. For the whole of 2020, its economy expanded by 2.3 percent, the only major economy to achieve a positive growth last year.