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China grows 8.1% in 2021 and records its lowest birth rate in 72 years

With information from EFE

The GDP of China It grew by 8.1% in 2021, according to official data, almost six percentage points more than the previous year and in line with what was forecast by institutions such as the World Bank (WB) or the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Thus, the growth of the Chinese economy in 2021, in which the effect of the previous year’s comparative base was marked by the coronavirus, caused GDP growth to go from breaking the record in the first quarter to one of the highest marks lows of the last decades in the fourth.

The result for the year thus meets the forecasts of international organizations such as the IMF and exceeds the official objective that Beijing had set itself, of “more than 6%”.

Some analysts pointed out that it was a very conservative objective due to the small base against which the data for the year would be compared, since in 2020 the Chinese GDP grew by 2.3% and the country was one of the few global economies to register an economic expansion in the first year marked by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The figures offered today by the National Statistics Office (ONE) also show that the Chinese economy grew by 4% year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2021, a figure higher than that expected by analysts, of around 3.6%, but that also marks a slowdown compared to the data for the previous period (+4.9%).

Despite this, in the last quarter, the GDP increased by 1.6% compared to the third, also exceeding the forecasts of the experts, who expected 1.1%.

In the first three quarters, year-on-year growth had been 18.3%, 7.9% and 4.9%, respectively. As of the end of December, China’s total wealth stood at 114.37 trillion yuan ($17.99 trillion, €15.77 trillion) in nominal terms.

China: industry beat forecasts

Other data was also made public today, such as retail sales -key to follow the recovery of national demand-, which increased by 12.5% ​​in 2021, but which in December were well below expectations by slowing down their progress up to 1.7% year-on-year in the framework of the latest outbreaks of COVID-19.

The trajectory of industrial production was different, an indicator that beat forecasts in the last month of the year by growing 4.3%, while in the year as a whole it did the same by 9.6%.

For its part, investment in fixed assets grew by 4.9% during 2021, the year that ended with the official unemployment rate in urban areas at 5.1%, one tenth less than at the end of 2020.

China: nobody wants to have children

Another of the data published today is of particular importance given the demographic challenges that China is facing: its population grew by only 0.03% in 2021, standing at 1,412.6 million inhabitants.

The birth rate fell to 7.52 per 1,000 inhabitants from 8.52 in 2020, thus breaking again the lowest mark since the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949.

“The population is likely to start contracting directly this year, nine years earlier than predicted in the most recent UN fertility forecasts,” said Julian Evans-Pritchard and Sheana Yue, analysts at consultancy Capital Economics.

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