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China’s Economy Grew 5.2% in 2023; Retail Sales Rose 7.2%

According to data from the National Bureau of Statistics, China‘s gross domestic product grew 5.2 percent year-over-year to reach 126 trillion renminbi, or $17.6 trillion, in 2023.

A day ahead of the data release, Chinese Premier Li Qiang revealed the numbers during a talk at The World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

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“[The growth] surpassed the target of around 5 percent growth set at the beginning of the year,” said Li.

“We insisted on not using massive stimulus,” added Li.

China’s GDP growth in 2022 ended at 3 percent, lower than the expected 5.5 percent.

Coming out of COVID-19 lockdowns in the second half of 2022, the market enjoyed a surge in revenge shopping, but in 2023, as the reality of a weak property market, record-high youth unemployment, and foreign investment plunge set in, consumer sentiment dwindled in fear of worse times ahead.

Based on data released on Wednesday, retail sales rose 7.2 percent year-over-year to 4.71 trillion renminbi, or $657.5 billion, in 2023.

Apparel, footwear, knitwear retail sales rose 12.9 percent year-over-year to reached 1.4 trillion renminbi, or $195.4 billion, in 2023.

Cosmetics retail sale grew 5.1 percent year-over-year to reach 414.2 billion renminbi, or $58 billion, in 2023.

NBS also resumed publishing youth unemployment rate after suspending the release last summer, citing a need to reassess calculation methods. According to data released last July, 21 percent of Chinese workers ages 16 to 24 were jobless.

According to the latest data, excluding people still in school, the unemployment rate for people ages 16 to 24 declined to 14.9 percent in December. The unemployment rate in cities was 5.1 percent in December.

Despite policy incentives, China’s younger generation is less willing to have children, resulting in a decline in the number of births from 2022’s 9.56 million to 9.02 million in 2023.

NBS data shows China’s population shrank again in 2023 after recording its first decline in six decades in 2022. The population in Mainland China fell by 2.08 million last year to about 1.41 billion.

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