CHINA was the only major economy to grow in 2020, expanding by at least two percent over the year, figures show.
By contrast, the global economy shrank by 4.3 percent as countries around the world struggled with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Data released on Monday by the Chinese government suggest the country's economy grew by 2.3 percent over the course of the year.
Output shrank by a historic 6.8 percent in the first quarter, but recovered with growth of 3.2, 4.9, and 6.5 percent in the second, third, and fourth quarters.
It represents China's worst year of annual growth since 1976, when its economy shrank by 1.6 percent following the tumult of Mao's Cultural Revolution, CNN reports.
Speaking at a press conference in Beijing, Ning Jizhe, a spokesman for China's National Bureau of Statistics, said: "The performance was better than we had expected."
The World Bank estimates a slightly lower growth rate for China of 2.0 percent last year.
By contrast, it says world output as a whole shrank by 4.3 percent, while the advanced economies shrank by 5.4 percent.
It said the United States, Eurozone, and Japan shrank by 3.6, 7.4, and 5.3 percent respectively.
China is also expected to recover more strongly from the disruption over the course of this year.
The World Bank predicts it will see 2021 growth of 7.9 percent, compared to 3.5, 3.6, and 2.5 percent in the US, Eurozone, and Japan.
The coronavirus pandemic is thought to have originated in the eastern Chinese city of Wuhan, and in January the surrounding Hubei province became the first part of the world placed under lockdown as part of efforts to contain the outbreak.
The country's economy has now largely reopened, and the government has sought to kickstart growth using investment in large infrastructure projects as well as cash payments to citizens to encourage consumer spending.
Ning said that, despite "sporadic" outbreaks, the pandemic seems now to be under control in China, and that authorities expected spending to continue recovering through the year.
The country has also benefitted from a rise in global demand for manufactured goods like personal protective equipment and electronics to enable home working.
Its trade surplus reportedly hit a record $535billion last year, up by 27 percent the year before.
China continues to face questions over allegations that it sought to cover up the pandemic in its early stages and failed to act when the virus could still have been contained.
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