China’s 2023 GDP growth slows to 5.2% amid weak post-COVID recovery

China’s economy grew by 5.2 per cent in 2023, slightly more than the official target. But the recovery was far shakier than many analysts and investors expected, with a deepening property crisis, mounting deflationary risks and tepid demand casting a pall over the outlook for this year. 

Expectations that the world’s second-largest economy would stage a strong post-COVID bounce quickly fizzled as the year progressed, with weak consumer and business confidence, mounting local government debts and slowing global growth sharply weighing on jobs, activity and investment. 

“The recovery from COVID – disappointing as it was – is over,” according to China Beige Book International’s latest survey released on Wednesday. 

“Any true acceleration (this year) will require either a major global upside surprise or more active government policy,” the private data collector said. 

A slew of economic readings early on Wednesday suggested that China lost more momentum heading into the new year, despite a flurry of government support measures. 

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 5.2 per cent in October-December from a year earlier, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) data showed, quickening from 4.9 per cent in the third quarter but missing a 5.3 per cent forecast in a Reuters’ poll. 

On a quarter-by-quarter basis, however, GDP grew by 1.0 per cent, slowing from a revised 1.5 per cent gain in the previous quarter. 

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