Chinese economic growth has ‘likely recovered’ to near pre-coronavirus levels

Business & Technology

China’s imports and exports both surged in September compared with a year before, indicating a continued strong recovery for the Chinese market. Economists surveyed expect Q3 growth to top 5%, nearing 2019 levels.

An employee works on the production line of a tire factory under Tianjin Wanda Tyre Group, which exports its products to countries such as the U.S. and Japan, in Xingtai, Hebei Province, China, May 21, 2019. REUTERS/Jason Lee/File Photo.

Economic data from September indicates that the Chinese market has recovered strongly in recent months. These numbers build on data from August that already showed growth in areas such as retail sales, car sales, and exports.

  • “China’s imports…jumped 13.2% in September from a year earlier after falling 2.1% in August, according to data released Tuesday by the General Administration of Customs,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
  • “Goods exports grew 9.9% year-on-year in dollar terms to $239.8 billion last month, up from 9.5% growth in August, marking the fastest expansion since March 2019,” Caixin notes, from the same release of numbers.
  • Auto sales, which are usually strong in “Golden September,” saw “a sixth straight month of gain, rebounding a solid 12.8%,” per Reuters. General Motors said yesterday that its China sales grew “12% on year in July-September, marking the Detroit automaker’s first Chinese quarterly sales growth in two years.”

More than 5% GDP growth is expected for Q3. 

  • A Wall Street Journal survey of economists projected 5.3%, which is “faster than the second quarter’s 3.2% figure and not far off from the 6.1% growth rate for all of 2019 — just before the economy was hit by the coronavirus.”
  • GDP growth “likely recovered to 5.5%” in the third quarter, a Caixin “survey of 16 domestic and overseas institutions showed.”
  • The Caixin survey also showed expectations that retail sales, value-added industrial output, and fixed-asset investment all grew more in September than they did in August.

Last week, Golden Week tourism also gave a boost to economic activity. The eight-day holiday saw some 637 million trips nationwide, 80% of the previous year’s level, and these tourists spent nearly $70 billion, according to (in Chinese) the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.