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China’s GDP expands 12.7pc in H1

BEIJING-China’s gross domestic product (GDP) expanded 12.7 percent year on year in the first half of 2021 as recovery continues to firm, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed.

The figure puts average H1 growth for the past two years at 5.3 percent, 0.3 percentage points faster than the two-year average of Q1 growth from the 2019 level, according to the NBS.

In the second quarter, the country’s GDP grew 7.9 percent year on year, the data showed. On a quarterly basis, the economy expanded 1.3 percent in Q2.

Other major economic indicators showed continued improvements across the board, with industrial output rising 15.9 percent and retail sales up 23 percent year on year in the first half.

The country’s surveyed urban unemployment rate stood at 5 percent in June, 0.7 percentage points lower than the same period last year. A total of 6.98 million new urban jobs, or 63.5 percent of the annual target, were created in the first half.

In the six-month period, China’s per capita disposable income increased 12.6 percent year on year in nominal terms to 17,642 yuan (about 2,731 U.S. dollars), basically keeping pace with the GDP increase.

In the first quarter of 2021, the Chinese economy grew 18.3 percent year on year as strong domestic and foreign demands powered recovery from a low base in early 2020 when COVID-19 stalled the world’s second-largest economy.

“The national economy has, in general, sustained a steady recovery in the first half,” said Liu Aihua, a spokesperson with the NBS.

Liu, however, cautioned of uncertainties stemming from the global spread of the pandemic and the unbalanced recovery domestically.

But considering the supply-demand cycle, market confidence and the increasingly strong domestic demand, China’s economy is expected to maintain the recovery trend in the second half of 2021, Liu added.

China has aimed for an economic expansion of over 6 percent in 2021. It also aims to create more than 11 million new urban jobs and expand domestic demand and effective investment, which are expected to put the economy firmly back to pre-pandemic vibrancy.

The World Bank, in a report last month, forecast that China’s economic growth will be at 8.5 percent in 2021.

China’s recovery has broadened as its economic activities have continued to normalize under the country’s effective containment of COVID-19, the report noted.

Meanwhile, foreign direct investment (FDI) into the Chinese mainland, in actual use, surged 28.7 percent year on year to 607.84 billion yuan, or 90.96 billion U.S. dollars, in the first half of this year, the Ministry of Commerce said.

The value increased 27.1 percent from the same period in 2019.

Foreign investment in the service industry came in at 482.77 billion yuan during the period, up 33.4 percent year on year, with foreign investment in the high-tech services sector rising 42.7 percent. Investment from the countries along the Belt and Road expanded 49.6 percent, and investment from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the European Union rose 50.7 percent and 10.3 percent, respectively, in H1.

The foreign investment actually used by China’s eastern, central and western regions increased by 29.7 percent, 33.6 percent and 6.1 percent, respectively.

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