China’s Bureau of Statistics reported that the country’s gross domestic product climbed 18.3% in the first quarter from the first quarter of 2020. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had projected 18.5% year over year growth.
The growth rate broke all records since China first began releasing GDP growth figures 30 years ago.The jump, as is also true of U.S. GDP growth and Standard & Poor’s earnings growth for the first quarter, is largely a product of comparing the pandemic recession in the first quarter of 2020 with the post-vaccine economic recovery in the first quarter of 2021. Quarter to quarter growth was less spectacular but still positive with the first three months of 2021 showing an increase in GDP of 0.6% from the fourth quarter of 2020.
Which isn’t to say that China’s growth in the first quarter wasn’t real or impressive.
In March China’s industrial output rose 14.14% year over year. Which brought first quarter growth in industrial production to 24.5% year over year in the first quarter. Retail sales rocketed ahead 33.9% in the first three months of 2021 compared to the first three months of 2020.
The latest data puts China on course to grow well above its annual target of more than 6%.
It looks like the global economy will have two growth engines in 2021. Economists project that the U.S. economy will grow by 6.2% in 2021, just slightly above China’s growth target.