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China's economic growth off to encouraging start

Updated: Apr 19,2021 15:10    Xinhua

BEIJING — China's economic growth has embraced an encouraging start in the first quarter of the year (Q1) and has a bright outlook, said an industry leader in an interview with Xinhua.

"Thanks to the effective measures that the government has taken to control the pandemic and stimulate the economy, we observe there is resilient momentum in the economic indicators coming from both the production and consumption sides," said Hoffman Cheong, EY China North managing partner.

In particular, catering sales had almost returned to the level at the beginning of 2019, suggesting strong sentiment of the populace to go out, meet people and spend money, said Cheong. "This is the underlying reason why we are confident in China's outlook."

China's retail sales of consumer goods went up 33.9 percent year-on-year in the first quarter. The average Q1 growth for the past two years stood at 4.2 percent, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said April 16.

The catering industry reported a 75.8-percent year-on-year increase in revenue in Q1, as the hardest-hit sector continued to recover from the COVID-19 disruptions, NBS data showed.

Cheong also highlighted the fast expansion of China's exports, noting that strong merchandise export was an important macroeconomic theme in 2020 for China and has still very much been the case in recent months.

Data from the General Administration of Customs showed that China's total goods imports and exports surged 29.2 percent year-on-year to 8.47 trillion yuan (about $1.3 trillion) in Q1, and exports jumped 38.7 percent from a year earlier.

In response to China's economic growth target of over 6 percent this year, Cheong said the relatively conservative target is mostly indicative and is a statement to show that the country will continue to ensure the economy runs smoothly and fulfill the development goal through high-quality growth.

Commenting on China's proactive fiscal policy in 2021, Cheong said the direct transfer of 2.8 trillion yuan in central government funding will help maintain supportive measures such as tax and fee cuts.

Cheong also expected a substantial increase in lendings by large commercial banks to micro and small businesses and a further reduction in effective interest rates for the real economy as the country aims at continuing precise support for its real economy.