GDP expands 4.5% year on year in the first quarter as Xi Jinping’s government seeks to restore business confidence
China’s gross domestic product expanded 4.5 percent year on year in the first quarter, as strong growth in exports and infrastructure investment as well as a rebound in retail consumption and property prices drove a recovery in the world’s second-largest economy.
The official figure, which exceeded analyst expectations of a 4 percent rise, followed efforts by Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s government to restore business confidence damaged by pandemic controls last year and abrupt policy changes. The January-March growth rate was still short of the government’s full-year target of 5 percent, held back by a nationwide Covid-19 outbreak at the start of this year, but economists expect it to pick up pace as the year progresses.
Xi, who formally embarked on an unprecedented third term as China’s president last month, is keen to revive economic growth. Gross domestic product expanded just 3 percent last year, missing the official target of 5.5 percent which was already the lowest in decades.
“Definitely, the recovery’s on track,” said Tao Wang, UBS chief China economist. “The momentum at the beginning of the year was stronger than expected.”