China’s economy grew at a faster-than-expected pace in the fourth quarter of last year, ending a rough coronavirus-stricken 2020 ahead of all major industrialized nations, as well poised to expand further this year.
The gross domestic product (GDP) expanded 6.5%, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed on Monday, faster than private forecasts and following a 4,9% expansion in the third quarter.
GDP grew 2.3% in 2020, the data showed, making China the only major economy in the world to avoid a contraction last year as many nations struggled to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.
Aided by strict virus containment measures and policy stimulus, the economy has recovered steadily from a steep 6.8% slump in the first three months of 2020, when an outbreak of Covid-19 in the central city of Wuhan turned into a full-blown epidemic.
The world’s second-largest economy has been fuelled by a surprisingly resilient export sector, but consumption - a key driver of growth - has lagged expectations amid fears of a resurgence of Covid-19 cases.
Despite the steady recovery in quarterly growth, 2020 GDP expansion was the weakest pace in more than four decades.
The slew of bright economic data has reduced the need for more monetary easing this year, leading the central bank to scale back some policy support, but there would be no abrupt shift in policy direction, according to top policymakers.
On a quarter-on-quarter basis, GDP rose 2.6% in October-December, the bureau said, compared with expectations for a 3.2% rise and a revised 3% gain in the previous quarter. Analysts expect economic growthe to rebound 8,4% in 2021 and 5,5% in 2022.
With information from Reuters