China’s economic growth fell from 3.9 per cent in the third quarter to just 2.9 per cent in the final quarter. As a result, China’s annual growth rate was a mere 2.2 per cent in 2022. This was the second lowest since 1976 and 2020 when China was suffering from Covid’s economic dip and the data on employment and GDP point towards a crisis, The Singapore Post reported.
The National Bureau of Statistics figures shows that retail sales had fallen by 1.8 per cent in December 2022 compared to the figures from the previous year. Overall the country’s retail sales have fallen by 0.2 per cent, the report by The Singapore Post claimed.
The unemployment data is also not optimistic. The unemployment rate in urban rate was at 5.5 per cent in December last year. And the unemployment rate for the 16 to 24 years remained at an elevated level of 16.7 per cent in December down from 17.1 per cent in November. This is a surprise when China claims to have created 12.04 million jobs in the last year.
In contrast with this data, the experts in the country tried to cover it up. The report by The Singapore Post quoted Vice-Premier Liu He who spoke at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos saying that “the economy will get back to normal quickly”, according to the same report.
“We are confident that in 2023 China’s growth will most likely return to its normal trend. The Chinese economy will see a significant improvement,” Liu said. China now seeks to ensure that its international trade returns to pre-Covid levels and is not hampered by any isolationist or inclusivist policies of the developed and developing countries.
The Vice-Premier used the Davos platform to first justify President Xi Jinping’s Zero Covid policy and then said that the economy had not been badly affected because of the strict lockdowns. The chaos in China was because of the sudden spurt in Covid infections after the Zero Covid policy was ended, “which somehow is beyond our expectations”.
He said to the Forum: “We call for more attention to the negative spillover effect of major countries’ rate hikes on the emerging markets and developing countries so as not to add to more debt or financial risks. We stand ready to work with all parties to find solutions to the debt issues of some developing countries.” The Vice-Premier was not clear if he was referring to his country’s BRI project amid suspicions that China uses it to promote its influence across the world, the report mentioned.
Although the United States (US) treasury officials were quoted in the Singapore report mentioning that the two countries will exchange views on macroeconomic developments. The same was said by the Chinese Commerce Ministry which said that they also wanted both countries to “strengthen macroeconomic and financial policy coordination”.