Biz China Weekly: GDP, industrial output, retail sales, employment, property investment, SOE profits, FDI

Highlights of China’s business news from the past week:

GDP

China’s gross domestic product (GDP) expanded 2.3 percent year on year in 2020, exceeding the 100-trillion-yuan (15.42 trillion U.S. dollars) threshold to 101.5986 trillion yuan, official data showed.

The pace was faster than the 0.7-percent increase in the first three quarters, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed.

In the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2020, the country’s GDP expanded 6.5 percent year on year, faster than the 4.9-percent growth in Q3, the data showed.

INDUSTRIAL OUTPUT

China’s value-added industrial output, an important economic indicator, went up 2.8 percent year on year in 2020, data from the NBS showed.

The growth accelerated from a rise of 2.3 percent registered in the first 11 months of last year.

In Q4, the industrial output grew 7.1 percent year on year, 1.3 percentage points higher than that recorded in Q3.

RETAIL SALES

China’s retail sales of consumer goods, a major indicator of consumption growth, fell 3.9 percent year on year in 2020, the NBS said.

Sales of the consumer goods reached 39.2 trillion yuan last year.

In Q4, the total retail sales of consumer goods grew by 4.6 percent year on year, 3.7 percentage points higher than that in Q3.

EMPLOYMENT

China’s job market remained stable in 2020, with the surveyed unemployment rate in urban areas standing at 5.6 percent, below the government’s annual target of around 6 percent, data from the NBS showed.

A total of 11.86 million new urban jobs were created in 2020, completing 131.8 percent of the target set for the whole year, said the NBS.

In December, the surveyed urban unemployment rate was 5.2 percent, flat with the same period of the previous year.

PROPERTY INVESTMENT

China’s investment in property development rose 7 percent year on year in 2020, picking up from the 6.8-percent increase in the first 11 months, the NBS said.

Total property investment in 2020 stood at 14.14 trillion yuan.

Investment in residential buildings went up 7.6 percent year on year, 0.2 percentage points higher than the growth in the first 11 months.

SOE PROFITS

Net profits of China’s centrally-administered state-owned enterprises (SOEs) expanded 2.1 percent year on year in 2020 to 1.4 trillion yuan, with around 80 percent of central SOEs reporting rising profits, official data showed.

The country’s 97 central SOEs raked in 30.3 trillion yuan in combined revenues last year, down 2.2 percent year on year, according to the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council.

In December alone, central SOEs saw their revenues rise for the fifth straight month to 3.7 trillion yuan, an 11.7-percent expansion from a year ago.

FDI

Foreign direct investment (FDI) into the Chinese mainland, in actual use, expanded 6.2 percent year on year to a record high of 999.98 billion yuan in 2020, the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said.

In U.S. dollar terms, the inflow went up 4.5 percent year on year to 144.37 billion dollars.

ODI

China’s non-financial outbound direct investment (ODI) dipped 0.4 percent year on year in 2020, official data showed.

The ODI stood at 110.15 billion U.S. dollars last year, according to the MOC.

The contract value of newly signed overseas engineering projects came in at about 255.54 billion dollars last year, down 1.8 percent year on year.