China’s GDP expands 4.8% in Q1 despite COVID-19 disruptions; outlook uncertain

China said its gross domestic product (GDP) expanded 4.8 percent year on year in the first quarter (Q1) of 2022 despite disruptions caused by the resurgence of COVID-19 cases and global uncertainties.

The expansion is supported by a strong January-February economic recovery, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said, adding retail sales grew by 6.7 percent, while fixed-asset investment rose by 12.2 percent during the period.

Key highights:

  • In the first quarter, the value added of agriculture (crop farming) witnessed a year-on-year increase of 4.8 percent. With generally favorable weather conditions and stronger agricultural production services, spring farming and preparation were carried out in a steady and orderly manner. 
  • The total value added of industrial enterprises above the designated size grew by 6.5 percent year on year in the first quarter. In terms of sectors, the value added of mining increased by 10.7 percent year-on-year, that of manufacturing increased by 6.2 percent, and that of production and supply of electricity, thermal power, gas and water increased by 6.1 percent. 
  • In the first quarter, the service sector continued to recover. Specifically, the value added of information transmission, software and information technology services and financial intermediation grew by 10.8 percent and 5.1 percent year-on-year respectively. 
  • In the first quarter, the total value of imports and exports of goods was 9,415.1 billion yuan, an increase of 10.7 percent over that of the previous year. The total value of exports was 5,226.0 billion yuan, up by 13.4 percent; that of imports was 4,189.1 billion yuan, up by 7.5 percent. The trade balance was 1,036.9 billion yuan in surplus. 
  • China’s per capita disposable income came in at 10,345 yuan ($1,623) in Q1, a nominal increase of 6.3 percent year on year.
  • Retail sales slumped by 3.5 percent in March, weighing the Q1 retail sales growth down to 3.3 percent.
  • The retail sales of commodities increased 3.6 percent, and revenue from catering was up 0.5 percent year on year in Q1.
  • Online retail sales of physical goods rose 8.8 percent in Q1, accounting for 23.2 percent of the total retail sales, data showed.
  • Investment in real estate development edged up 0.7 percent in the first quarter. However, the pace slowed for the 12th consecutive month.

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