China’s economy grew by 2.3 percent year on year in 2020, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said in a statement on Sunday.
Despite the grave and complex challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, China managed to bring its economic growth back to a pre-pandemic rate, the only major economy in the world that pocketed positive economic growth. Its full-year GDP exceeded 100 trillion yuan ($15.45 trillion) for the first time.
The country’s GDP dipped 6.8 percent year on year in the first quarter before making a comeback of 3.2 percent in the April-June period. It then secured a gain of 4.9 percent in the third quarter and extended the rising streak from October through December by moving upward 6.5 percent.
China has presented a V-shaped recovery curve and has become the overriding force driving the recovery of the global economy, said Sheng Laiyun, deputy head of the NBS.
Based on the weighted average exchange rates for the year, China’s economy is now tipped to command around 17 percent of the global economy, Sheng said.
The annual per capita GDP is expected to stand at 72,447 yuan ($11,190) for 2020, an increase of 2 percent over the previous year. “The closely watched indicator exceeded $10,000 for two years in a row,” according to the senior official.
Consumption remained the overriding growth engine fueling the economy, although retail sales of consumer goods, a major indicator of consumption growth, edged down 3.9 percent compared to the previous year.
The consumer price index, a key gauge of retail inflation, rose by 2.5 percent year on year in 2020. The producer price index, which measures goods cost at factory gate, shed 1.8 percent throughout the year.
A breakdown of the data showed the output of the primary industry went up 3 percent in 2020, overshadowing a 2.6-percent ascent in the secondary industry and a 2.1-percent rise logged in the tertiary sector.
China added 11.86 million new urban jobs nationwide in 2020, exceeding the target of creating over nine million urban jobs. By the end of 2020, the surveyed unemployment rate in urban areas stood at 5.2 percent, below the government’s annual target of around 6 percent.
China’s foreign trade rose 1.5 percent to $4.65 trillion in 2020, helped by its recovered manufacturing production sector. Exports came in at $2.59 trillion last year with a 3.6-percent growth year on year, while imports were down 1.1 percent, standing at $2.06 trillion.
Sunday’s batch of official Chinese economic data also showed property investment rose 7 percent in 2020 from a year earlier, gathering pace from the 6.8-percent increase in the first 11 months. Fixed-asset investment notched up a gain of 2.9 percent for the full year, versus expectations for a 3.2 percent gain.
Sales of new energy vehicles picked up 17.3 percent year on year in 2020 to reach 1.45 million thanks to the government’s stimulus package and rosy market sentiment.