A McDonald’s delivery worker walks past pig statues outside an art museum in Beijing on July 10, 2021.

Jade Gao | AFP | Getty Images

BEIJING — China reported second-quarter GDP growth that came in slightly below expectations, while retail sales and industrial production grew faster than forecast.

The country’s gross domestic product increased 7.9% in the second quarter from a year ago, the National Bureau of Statistics said Thursday. That fell short of Reuters’ estimate of 8.1% growth for the April to June period.

In the first quarter, GDP grew 18.3%, up from a contraction a year ago. That marked a 0.6% increase from the last quarter of 2020.

Retail sales rose 12.1% in June from a year ago, more than the expected 11% level forecast by Reuters.

Industrial production grew by 8.3%, greater than the 7.8% Reuters estimate.

Retail sales growth has lagged that of the overall economy, and missed analysts’ expectations for the first two months of the second quarter.

In the last three months, Chinese authorities have also announced support for companies affected by the surge in commodity prices.

On Thursday, a cut to the reserve requirement ratio (RRR), or the amount of funds banks must hold in reserve, was set to take effect. Authorities’ initial hint of such a cut surprised investors last week, and signaled concerns of slower growth.

The cut is expected to release about 1 trillion yuan (or $154 billion) into the economy.

Meanwhile, China’s customs agency said earlier this week that exports rose a more-than-expected 32.2% in June.

The urban survey unemployment rate held steady at 5% in June, while unemployment for the younger 16 to 24 age category climbed to 15.4%.

Read more about China from CNBC Pro

— CNBC’s Yen Nee Lee contributed to this report.

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