Quarterly GDP growth year-on-year since 2017
The jump is mostly due to the low baseline of last year’s first quarter, when the economy contracted by nearly 7% following a nationwide lockdown. On a quarter-to-quarter basis, China’s economic growth is far more modest. Compared to the last quarter of last year, economic output expanded only 0.6%.
Nonetheless, China’s quarterly data contained some positive signals. The most important is that retail figures remain strong. Total retail sales expanded by 34.2% year-on-year in March, better than expected and higher than the 24.5% growth in industrial production. Following last year’s lockdown, the retail sector recovered much more slowly than manufacturing, which was stimulated by infrastructure investment and strong exports. Last month saw retail growing faster than manufacturing for the first time since the pandemic.
Monthly Growth year-on-year in Industrial Production and Retail Sales
Another positive sign for UK exporters is that Chinese imports have picked up. Chinese imports in March beat expectations, rising 38.1% from a year ago. By contrast, exports grew only 30.6%. This is particularly good news for British exporters of essential goods (excluding oil and non-monetary gold), whose exports to China were up 2.3% in 2020 compared to 2019 despite the global pandemic.
CBBC will continue to pay close attention to the development of China’s consumer market. If you like to know more about the latest trends, please sign up to our UK-China Consumer Week 2021 which will shine a spotlight on China’s consumer market recovery and call attention to opportunities for UK brands to re-engage with China. This unique programme will take place online between the 19th and 23rd April 2021. Sessions will be held over five consecutive days, allowing attendees access to the full event programme.
For more information: https://www.cbbc.org/uk-china-consumer-week-2021