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China posts forecast-beating GDP growth in first quarter

China's air passenger traffic surpasses pre-pandemic levels in Q1 2024
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April 16, 2024 (MLN): China's economy grew far more than expected in the first quarter of 2024, data showed Tuesday, even as it is buffeted by a property-sector crisis and flagging consumer activity, as APP reported.

Beijing has set a target of around 5% growth for the year, a goal officials last month admitted would "not be easy" and which analysts said was ambitious given the headwinds the country is confronting.

For January-March, gross domestic product rose 5.3%, compared with 5.2 in the previous quarter, the National Bureau of Statistics said.

The figures well exceeded analysts' expectations, with those pooled by Bloomberg having estimated the figure to come in at 4.8%.

"The national economy continued the good momentum of a rebound," the NBS said, calling it a "good start".

The GDP data remains a key insight into the health of the world's second-largest economy, despite being eminently political.

And Tuesday's figures "beat the market expectation by a wide margin", Dan Wang, chief economist at Hang Seng Bank China, told AFP.

"Consumption and housing investment was the main drag, while manufacturing and infrastructure were the main engines," she said.

It reflects "the fundamental policy shift from a focus on (the) consumer market and service sector to… industrial growth", she added.

But woes in the property market remain a millstone for the economy as home prices continued to fall and top developers including Country Garden and Vanke sent out distress signals over their profits and challenges paying off debt.

Ratings agency Fitch last week downgraded the country's sovereign credit outlook to negative, warning of "increasing risks to China's public finance outlook" as it contends with more "uncertain economic prospects".

Policymakers have announced a series of targeted measures as well as the issuance of billions of dollars in sovereign bonds in order to boost infrastructure spending and spur consumption.

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Posted on: 2024-04-16T09:53:58+05:00