BEIJING—China’s economy expanded by 2.3% in 2020, roaring back from a historic contraction in the early months of the year to become the only major world economy to grow in what was a pandemic-ravaged year.
China’s ability to expand, even as the world struggled to control a deadly virus that has killed more than two million people, underscores the country’s success in largely taming the coronavirus within its borders and further cements its place as the dominant economy in Asia.
China’s growth makes it an outlier among large economies. The World Bank expects the U.S. economy to contract by 3.6% this year and the eurozone’s to shrink by 7.4% in 2020, contributing to a global economic pullback of 4.3%.
China’s economy, the world’s second largest, finished the year on a high note. Gross domestic product rose 6.5% in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics on Monday, marking China’s best quarter of year-over-year growth in two years.
The results topped expectations. Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal expected growth of 6% in the fourth quarter and an expansion of 2.2% for the full year.