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October 19, 2021

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GDP well above target, expands 9.8% in 3 quarters

China posted stable economic growth for the first three quarters of this year, staying on track to meet its annual growth target despite multiple challenges, including a power crunch and a resurgence of COVID-19 cases.

The country’s gross domestic product reached 82.31 trillion yuan (US$12.8 trillion) in the first three quarters, expanding 9.8 percent year on year. It is well above its annual growth target of “over 6 percent,” data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed.

“The Chinese economy has maintained the recovery momentum in the first three quarters with progress in structural adjustment and high-quality development,” said NBS spokesperson Fu Linghui at a press conference.

In the third quarter, the country’s GDP grew 4.9 percent year on year, slower than the growth of 18.3 percent in Q1 and 7.9 percent in Q2.

The Q3 moderation was affected by the resurgence of the pandemic, floods, and a high comparison base last year, Fu noted, adding that the economy showed strong resilience and vitality despite these challenges.

“China is capable of achieving its social and economic development goals for the whole year,” he said.

The world’s second-largest economy faced a series of challenges in the third quarter. The heavy summer rains brought severe floods to many provinces, disrupting economic activities. A new round of COVID-19 resurgence attributable to the Delta variant occurred in multiple cities, adding to local governments’ pressure to keep regular economic operations.

Lately, a power crunch has added to the pressure. Rising international energy prices and tight domestic coal supplies partly led to power outages in some regions, affecting regular production orders.

Power shortage temporary

The country’s policy-makers are actively coping with these difficulties with measures to boost electricity supply, incentivize consumption, and facilitate foreign trade to mitigate the impact of the “multiple whammies” on the economy.

“China’s power shortage is only temporary, and its impact on the economy is under control,” Fu said, citing NBS data that the country’s power generation accelerated in September, climbing 4.9 percent year on year. The growth rate was 4.7 percentage points faster than the previous month.

The country’s value-added industrial output, an important economic indicator, went up 11.8 percent year on year in the first three quarters, putting the average January-September growth for the past two years at 6.4 percent, data from the NBS showed.

Yesterday’s data pointed to many bright spots in the economy.

Retail sales of consumer goods jumped 16.4 percent year on year in the first three quarters, with online retail sales surging 18.5 percent.

The country’s surveyed urban unemployment rate stood at 4.9 percent in September, 0.5 percentage points lower than the same period last year.

During the January-September period, China added 10.45 million new urban jobs, achieving 95 percent of the target for the whole year.

Fu cautioned against rising uncertainties in the international environment and uneven recovery in the domestic economy.

“With China’s growing fiscal strength and ample room for monetary policies, the country is capable of introducing effective measures that can timely respond to changes and keep economic operation stable,” Fu said.


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