Not even the coronavirus is capable of giving a sharp dent to the Chinese economy. At least, that is what the official data published this Thursday by the National Bureau of Statistics reflects: the second world power grew by 3.2% in the second quarter of the year and, taking into account the fall of 6.8% in the first, starred in a spectacular turnaround that has allowed him to corner a technical recession. Of course, the good data registered between April and June have not been able to offset the negative impact of January, February, and March: in the whole of the first half, GDP reached 45.6 trillion yuan (5.77 trillion euros), which represents a contraction of 1.6% compared to the same period in 2019.
These official figures far exceed the 2.4% growth predicted by economists polled by Bloomberg., and contrast with the negative perception of many sectors, which are far from even reaching last year’s production and sales volumes. This is also reflected in the statistics, which indicate falls in different important variables: 1.6% in the service sector, 1.8% in retail sales, 1.9% in the secondary industry, and a 3.1% in investments in fixed assets.
In this way, growth seems almost exclusively linked to industrial production, which grew by 4.8%. “Some factories have worked 100% of our capacity to supply the orders that we had to postpone in the first quarter due to movement restrictions and the confinement of some areas of China. However, the data is striking because the global market is still very affected and we do not see that the domestic one has fully recovered, ”the manager of a Zhejiang industrial plant who prefers to remain anonymous doubts in statements to this newspaper. “None of our customers or suppliers has yet reached last year’s levels,” he says. However, other entrepreneurs consulted, especially those working in the electronic commerce sector, affirm that their results have increased significantly compared to those of 2019.
Among the most positive aspects of China’s data there is the slight improvement registered in the labor market and reflected in a fall of two tenths of the urban unemployment rate, which remains at 5.7%. “The recovery in the second quarter is strong, but also uneven. Although growth is inevitable to slow, GDP could expand by up to 5% in the second half of the year, “Larry Hu, chief China economist at Macquarie Bank, told the South China Morning Post.
“The Chinese economy has managed to gradually overcome the damage caused by the pandemic in the first half of the year. But growth is still under strong external downward pressure as the coronavirus continues to have a major impact on the global economy. Most of the variables continue in negative territory, so there is still a long way to go before we can recover what the pandemic took from us, although we have shown that its impact is controllable, “said Liu Aihua, spokesperson for the National Bureau of Statistics. , who has been optimistic about the second half of the year. In any case, for the first time, the government has not set a growth target for 2020 and has only set out to create nine million urban jobs at the moment to prevent social unrest from spreading and potentially triggering political turmoil.