BEIJING — China’s economy grew 2.3% in 2020 as a recovery from the coronavirus pandemic accelerated while the United States, Europe and Japan struggled with disease flare-ups.

Growth in the three months ending in December rose to 6.5% over a year earlier, up from the previous quarter’s 4.9%, official data showed Monday.

In early 2020, activity contracted by 6.8% in the first quarter as the ruling Communist Party took the then-unprecedented step of shutting down its economy to fight the virus. The following quarter, China became the first major country to grow again with a 3.2% expansion after the party declared victory over the virus in March and allowed factories, shops and offices to reopen.

The economy “recovered steadily” and “living standards were ensured forcefully,” the National Bureau of Statistics said in a statement. It said the ruling party’s development goals were “accomplished better than expectation” but gave no details.

2020 was China’s weakest growth in decades and below the previous recent low of 3.9% in 1990 following the crackdown on a pro-democracy movement. But it was well ahead of the United States and other major economies. They have yet to report 2020 growth but all are on track to show full-year activity contracting before vaccines are rolled out and commerce returns to normal.

China has re-imposed travel controls in some areas after a spate of cases this month but most of the country is unaffected.

Growth was aided by global demand for Chinese-made masks and other medical supplies. Exports rose 3.6% last year despite a tariff war with Washington. Exporters took market share from foreign competitors that still faced anti-virus restrictions.

The International Monetary Fund and private sector forecasters expect economic growth to rise further this year to above 8%.

Retail spending contracted by 3.9% over 2019 but gained 4.6% in December over a year earlier as demand revived. Consumer spending recovered to above the previous year’s levels in the quarter ending in September.

Online sales of consumer goods rose 14.8% as millions of families who were ordered to stay home shifted to buying groceries and clothing online.

Factory output rose 2.8% over 2019. Earlier data showed activity accelerating toward the end of the year. Production rose 7.3% in December.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

Facebook is giving away $40 million to Black-owned businesses

New York (CNN Business)Facebook on Thursday launched a $40 million grant program for Black-owned businesses hit by the coronavirus pandemic — part of the company’s broader initiative to help Black communities, which it announced in June. The company plans to…

Chinese mutual fund industry sees jump in new funds and inflows

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China’s mutual fund industry saw another massive jump in new products and subscriptions in June, suggesting the swift rally in mainland stocks has room to run further. Some 73 new open-ended equity and balanced funds were launched…

Supreme Court to hear New Jersey natural gas pipeline case

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal by a gas company seeking to use state-controlled land in New Jersey to build a 116-mile natural gas pipeline. The high court said Wednesday it would take the case…

Oil holds near $32 ahead of OPEC-led talks on output cuts

SEOUL (Reuters) – Oil rebounded on Wednesday after a two-day fall, lifted by hopes that a meeting between OPEC members and allied producers on Thursday will trigger output cuts to shore up prices that have crumbled amid the coronavirus pandemic.…