Canadian Manufacturing

China’s COVID-19 growth surges to 18.3% finally levelling off

Tech industries are hampered by U.S. sanctions that block access to chips and other technology for Chinese tech giant Huawei

April 16, 2021  by Associated Press

China’s economy grew by double digits in the latest quarter but an explosive rebound from the coronavirus pandemic is slowing abruptly as manufacturing and consumer spending return to normal.

The economy grew by 18.3% over a year ago, official data showed on Apr. 16, a figure that was magnified by comparison with early 2020, when factories and shops were closed and activity plunged. Growth compared with 2020’s final quarter, when a recovery was under way, slowed to 0.6%, among the weakest of the past decade.

The latest figures “mask a sharp slowdown” in the world’s second-largest economy as stimulus spending and easy credit are wound down, Julian Evans-Pritchard of Capital economics said in a report.

“China’s post-COVID rebound is levelling off,” Evans-Pritchard said.

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Manufacturing, auto sales and consumer spending have recovered to above pre-pandemic levels since the ruling Communist Party declared victory over the coronavirus last March and allowed factories and stores to reopen. Restaurants and shopping malls are filling up, though visitors still are checked for the virus’s telltale fever.

The economy “delivered a stable performance with a consolidated foundation and good momentum of growth,” the National Bureau of Statistics said in a report.

Forecasters expect economic growth of at least 7% this year but say China’s outlook is clouded by trade tension with Washington and disruptions in global supplies of processor chips needed by smartphone makers and other tech industries the ruling party is counting on to propel a self-sustaining economy and reduce reliance on trade.

Tech industries are hampered by U.S. sanctions that block access to chips and other technology for Chinese tech giant Huawei and other companies in a feud with Beijing over technology and security.

President Joe Biden says he wants better relations with Beijing but has yet to indicate whether he will roll back sanctions or tariff hikes imposed on Chinese goods by his predecessor, Donald Trump.

“China-U.S. relations with be critical for China’s economic growth, mostly in technology development,” said Pang in a report. “It is likely that the U.S. will continue to put more pressure on China.”


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