BEIJING: China’s economy grew at the slowest pace in more than four decades last year despite a rebound after the country’s coronavirus outbreak, official data showed Monday.
The 2.3 per cent expansion is the lowest figure since the Chinese economy embarked on major reforms in the 1970s.
The National Bureau of Statistics warned of a “grave and complex environment both at home and abroad”, with the pandemic having a “huge impact”.
However, the 2.3 per cent growth in 2020 made China the only major economy in the world to avoid a contraction last year as many nations struggled to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.
The world’s second-largest economy staged a strong comeback last year from the coronavirus-triggered paralysis, fuelled by a surprisingly resilient export sector, but consumption – a key driver of growth – has been lagging expectations amid fears of a resurgence of Covid-19 cases.
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, sources told Reuters, but there would be no abrupt shift in policy direction, according to top policymakers.
On a quarter-on-quarter basis, GDP rose 2.6 per cent in October-December, the bureau said, compared with expectations for a 3.2 per cent rise and a revised 3 per cent gain in the previous quarter.
On year-on-year basis, China’s economy expanded 6.5 per cent.