China’s GDP expands 4.9% in Q3 as economic recovery momentum strengthens
Published: Oct 18, 2023 10:02 AM
Photo: CFP

Photo: CFP

China's GDP expanded 4.9 percent year-on-year in the third quarter of the year, beating economists' forecast of 4.4 percent year-year-year, as the economy sustained its recovery momentum thanks to the rollout of a number of macro-policies to bolster the economy on all fronts since July.

Dismissing Western media's smear of China's economy, Chinese analysts said the economy is better than many have expected and is well on track to achieve its annual growth target of around 5 percent this year. They also noted that the growth potential of China's economy is enormous, considering dividends brought by the country's transformation of labor force structure, urbanization and ongoing industrial upgrade. 

They stressed it is absurd that the Western media continue to overplay the concerns that China will experience a Japan-style economic stagnation in the 1990s because the fundamentals of the Chinese economy are stable, the tech sector makes rapid progress and consumer expectations remains sound.

The economy grew by 4.9 percent year-on-year between July and September, and expanded by 5.2 percent in the first three quarters, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Tuesday.

 "Though it's slightly slower than the second-quarter GDP growth rate of 6.3 percent year-on-year, I would still give a thumb-up for China's economy. The result is hard-won amid more complex and grave external environment and some domestic challenges, underscoring that macro-policies are producing effects and positive factors are amassing," Cao Heping, an economist at Peking University, told the Global Times.

There were multiple highlights contributing to China's economic recovery in the third quarter, including continuous release of domestic demand potential, stable growth of foreign trade and industrial output over the period, Cong Yi, a professor from the Tianjin University of Finance and Economics, told the Global Times.

According to NBS data, the total retail sales of consumer goods jumped by 5.5 percent year-on-year in September, beating analysts' forecast of 4.9 percent year-on-year over the reporting period. In addition, the total value added of the industrial enterprises above the designated size grew by 4.0 percent year-on-year in the first three quarters.

The country's fixed-asset investment grew steadily by 3.1 percent year-on-year in the first three quarters.

The stable operation of the world's second-largest economy has continued to defy Western naysayers, analysts said, expressing firm faith in China's economic outlook and its irreplaceable role in driving global economic recovery.

"Compared with major economies, China's economy is relatively stable. As the Chinese economy is in a critical period of economic recovery and industrial structure adjustment, the challenges faced by the economy are within expectations. However, challenges and pressure will not hinder China's development as we firmly pursue high-quality development," Cong said.

Looking ahead, China's economy will further recover in the fourth quarter of 2023, traditionally a consumption peak, contributing to the achievement of its annual growth target of around 5 percent this year, Cao said.

"The fundamentals for China's development have remained unchanged, strengths for development remained unchanged and keep expanding, and new growth drivers are burgeoning," Chinese Premier Li Qiang said at a symposium on the economic situation held on Friday.

Li urged efforts to deliver macro-policy regulation more effectively, strengthen policy prediction and research, and step up nurturing new drivers and advantages for high-quality development.

"Despite rising external headwinds including a volatile international environment and growing trade protectionism, there is no need to worry about the Chinese economy," Cong said, noting that the country needs to maintain strategic focus to achieve high-quality development.

In the fourth quarter, more efforts are needed to continue to maintain consumers' consumption enthusiasm and implement key projects listed in the country's 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) as soon as possible to stabilize the country's investment, Tian Yun, a Beijing-based economist, told the Global Times.

In response to Western media hype about China's so-called "Japanization" risk, Tian said the growth potential of China's economy still prevails, considering dividends brought by the country's transformation of labor structure, urbanization and industrial upgrade. "China's great economic potential could be tapped only by accelerating policy adjustment and further smooth 'dual circulation' through reform and opening-up," Tian said.