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BEIJING: China’s economy grew by 0.4% in the second quarter of 2022 compared with a year earlier, posting 2.5% growth in the first half of the year, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) says.
Experts said the figures were lower than market forecasts, underlining the need to step up macro policy support to shore up growth in the coming months.
Despite facing challenges and uncertainties from the Covid-19 pandemic and a more complicated international environment, they expect to see a notable recovery in the third and fourth quarters this year.
This will be driven by policy stimulus including infrastructure investment and stronger support for hard-hit sectors and enterprises.
Tommy Wu, lead economist at the Oxford Economics think tank, said that while the second-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) growth was below his expectations and lower than the 4.8% growth in the first quarter, June’s data was more positive, with activity picking up after most Covid restrictions were lifted.
“We believe China’s economy is on track to recover in the second half,” he said.,
“While recent renewed Covid restrictions and future outbreaks will continue to threaten the pace of recovery, we expect supply chains will experience less disruption than in the second quarter.”
China has overcome multiple economic challenges in the second quarter with gradual improvements in key indicators including industrial production, consumption and investment, and the fundamentals of the country’s long-term sound economic growth remain unchanged, said Fu Linghui, spokesman for the NBS.
Fu told a news conference in Beijing that China’s economy still enjoys strong resilience, ample potential and large room for maneuvre, and the economy will likely recover gradually and maintain stable growth as stimulus policies take effect.
NBS data showed that fixed-asset investment and value-added industrial output rose by 5.6% and 3.9% in June, respectively, up from 4.6% and 0.7% gains in May.
Wu from Oxford Economics said that infrastructure investment will play a crucial role in boosting growth in the second half.
Citing the government’s efforts to ramp up funding for infrastructure projects in recent months, he expected additional funding will be announced in the coming weeks, which means that this year’s infrastructure investment could be stronger than previously expected.
Chen Chuanglian, deputy director of the Southern China Institute of Finance at Jinan University in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, said the lower-than-expected growth figures point to the mounting pressures faced by the economy, underlining the necessity to beef up macro policy adjustments.