A traffic policeman prepares to inspect a truck at a service station near Shanghai, which has ordered tighter restrictions on travel in and out of the city as China grapples with a severe Covid-19 outbreak. most important since the early days of the 2020 pandemic.
Yin Liqin | China News Service via Getty Images
BEIJING – China’s first-quarter GDP grew faster than expected despite the effects of the Covid shutdown in parts of the country in March, according to data released Monday by the National Bureau of Statistics. .
First-quarter GDP grew 4.8%, topping expectations for a 4.4% increase from a year ago.
However, retail sales in March fell more than expected 3.5% from a year earlier. Analysts polled by Reuters predicted a 1.6% drop.
Fixed-asset investment in the first quarter rose 9.3% from a year ago, topping expectations for an 8.5% increase.
Industrial production in March increased by 5%, beating forecasts for 4.5% growth.
The urban unemployment rate edged higher in March to 5.8%, up from 5.5% in February. The unemployment rate for 16- to 24-year-olds remains much higher at 16%.
Starting in March, the country struggled to contain its worst Covid outbreak since the early stages of the pandemic in 2020. Back then, shutdowns across more than half of the country had resulted A 6.8% drop in first-quarter growth from a year earlier.
“We must recognize that with the domestic and international environment becoming increasingly complex and volatile, economic development is facing significant difficulties and challenges,” the bureau said in a statement. declare.
“We must coordinate efforts to prevent and control Covid-19 and develop our economy and society, make economic stability our top priority, and pursue progress while ensuring stability,” he said. and place the task of ensuring steady growth in a more prominent position,” the statement said.
Although the economic figures released for January and February beat expectations, the figures for March are already beginning to reflect the impact of stay-at-home orders and travel restrictions around the hubs. economic center like coastal metropolis of Shanghai.
Exports, the main driver of China’s growth, rose 14.7% more than expected in March, but imports unexpectedly fell, falling 0.1% from a year ago, according to data announced last week.
– This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.