China's GDP grew 8.1% in 2021, fastest in 10 years: report
24 January 2022
China on Monday said its gross domestic product (GDP) grew 8.1 per cent in 2021, the fastest pace recorded in the past 10 years, further cementing the world's second-largest economy's leading position in the global economy's recovery from the still raging SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.
The country's total GDP in 2021 reached 114.37 trillion yuan ($18 trillion), according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Monday.
This represents an increase of $2 trillion compared to 2020, or roughly the equivalent of Italy's GDP in 2020 based on Global Times calculations.
However, China’s GDP growth slowed to 4 per cent in the last quarter 2021, the weakest since the second quarter of 2020, also pointing to the growing downward pressure on the Chinese economy, including from shrinking demand, supply chain disruptions and weakening expectations, in addition to risks of the spread of the new SARS-CoV variant.
China’s economy gained on major growth drivers, particularly exports, which saw remarkable improvements in the face of mounting global challenges.
Chinese economists believe the economy is well positioned to tackle those challenges, given the solid foundation of the Chinese economy and sufficient fiscal and monetary tools at the disposal of policymakers.
They say policymakers are already moving to boost consumption, liquidity and other issues. Despite risks, some economists are expecting 5.5 per cent growth in 2022.
The robust expansion, which beats market expectations and eclipses most of the other major economies in the past two years, spells out a steady economic recovery path - building upon the country's zero-tolerance epidemic strategy that Beijing has been relying on despite criticism from the West and headwinds throughout the year, which ranged from sporadic coronavirus outbreaks, woes in the property sector, bulk commodity price hikes, to a power crunch, says the Global Times report.
While GDP growth in the fourth quarter of 2021 fell to 4 per cent, the pace of growth still beat estimates of slow or no growth in the quarter marred by epidemic flare-ups, rising commodity prices and electricity shortages, according to the report.
Also, the 4 per cent growth in the October-December 2021 quarter was achieved on top of a 6.5 per cent growth in the fourth quarter of 2020, the report cited analysts as saying.
Against this, analysts expect US GDP growth in October-December 2021 to be no more than 3 per cent due to runaway inflation that rose to 7 per cent in December, the fastest since 1982, that offset much of the growth.
In comparison, European manufacturing and exports powerhouse Germany's economy shrank nearly 1 per cent in the fourth quarter.
Meanwhile, the People's Bank of China, China's central bank, on Monday lowered medium-term lending facility interest rates by 10 basis points, the first time since April 2020 and about one month after it cut the reserve requirement ratio, to prod domestic banks to lower market interest rates.
China still has to deal with issues like power crisis, supply chain disruptions and the crisis in the property sector weighing on the economy.