On October 18, the National Bureau of Statistics of China (NBSC) released the country’s Quarter 3 economic report. Although the report indicated a few challenges in growth than the previous months, China’s economic resilience ensured that the momentum is steady.
In the first three quarters, faced with complicated and severe environment both at home and abroad, all regions and departments strictly implemented the decisions and arrangements made by the government. This included coordinating both the epidemic prevention and control and the economic and social development in a scientific manner, enhanced cross-cyclical adjustment of macro policies, and effective response to multiple tests of epidemic and floods.
As a result, the national economy sustained its recovery and development with all major macro-economic indicators falling in the reasonable range. The overall social situation was harmonious and stable with generally stable employment, increased residents’ income, balanced international payments, adjusted and optimized economic structure and steadily improved quality and efficiency.
According to the preliminary estimates, the gross domestic product (GDP) in the first three quarters reached 82,313.1 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 9.8 percent at comparable prices, with an average two-year growth of 5.2 percent, 0.1 percentage point lower than the average two-year growth of the first half year.
Agricultural production showed good momentum and production of animal husbandry recorded impressive growth. In the first three quarters, the value added of agriculture (crop farming) went up by 3.4% year-on-year, with an average two-year growth of 3.6%.
Industrial production continued to grow and business efficiency improved steadily. In the first three quarters, the total value added of industrial enterprises above the designated size grew by 11.8% year-on-year, or an average two-year growth of 6.4 percent.
The service sector recovered steadily and modern service industries also grew significantly. The first three quarters witnessed a steady recovery of the tertiary industry. Specifically, in the first three quarters, the value added of information transmission, software and information technology services and transportation, storage and postal services increased by 19.3% and 15.3% year-on-year respectively, with an average two-year growth of 17.6% and 6.2% respectively.
Market sales continued to grow with sales of upgraded goods and basic living goods increasing fast. In the first three quarters, the total retail sales of consumer goods reached 31,805.7 billion yuan, up by 16.4 percent year-on-year, with an average two-year growth of 3.9%.
Investment in fixed assets scaled up and investment in high-tech industries and social sector recorded growth. In the first three quarters, the investment in fixed assets (excluding rural households) reached 39,782.7 billion yuan, up by 7.3 percent over that of last year, with an average two-year growth of 3.8%.
Imports and exports of goods increased while trade structure continued to improve. In the first three quarters, the total value of imports and exports of goods was 28,326.4 billion yuan, up by 22.7% year-on-year.
Consumer prices rose mildly while increase of producer prices for industrial products expanded. In the first three quarters, the consumer price index went up by 0.6 percent year-on-year, 0.1 percentage point higher than that in the first half of this year. In the first three quarters, the producer prices for industrial products went up by 6.7 percent, an increase expanded by 1.6 percentage points than that of the first half of this year.
Employment was basically stable and urban surveyed unemployment rate was stable with moderate decline. In the first three quarters, the newly increased employed people in urban areas totaled 10.45 million, achieving 95% of the annual target.
international environment uncertainties are mounting and the domestic economic recovery is still unstable and uneven.
Residents’ income grew in tandem with the economy and urban-rural per capita income ratio narrowed. In the first three quarters, the nationwide per capita disposable income of residents was 26,265 yuan, a nominal increase of 10.4 percent year-on-year, with an average two-year growth of 7.1 percent, or a real increase of 9.7 percent year-on-year after deducting price factors, with an average two-year growth of 5.1 percent, which was generally at the same pace as the growth of economy.
Basically, the overall national economy maintained the recovery momentum in the first three quarters with steady progress in economic restructuring and new advancement of high-quality development. However, we must note that the current international environment uncertainties are mounting and the domestic economic recovery is still unstable and uneven.
The NBSC says that returning to the high levels of growth will need adherence to the general working guidelines of making progress while maintaining stability by carrying out the routine epidemic prevention and control measures, strengthening cross-cyclical adjustment of macro policies, deepening the reform and opening-up and innovation, and continuously stimulating market vitality.
The writer is the Executive Director of South-South Dialogues, a Nairobi based research and development communication think tank.