Impact on China’s domestic economy: looking at the numbers
According to the NBS report on China’s national economy, the government’s coordinated efforts have enabled the gradual restoration of the country’economic production and people’s living. We look at the overall report presented by the bureau for the first two months of the year.
1. Overall agricultural production
Until the end of February, wheat production in winter increased by 3 percentage points compared to the last year of the same period. The report further highlighted the increase in vegetable cultivation and guaranteed supply of agricultural materials such as seeds, chemical fertilizers, and pesticides.
China state-media Xinhua also reported that China’s agriculture sector remains robust despite the impact of COVID-19. It noted a 35 percent year-on-year (YoY) increase in the added value of the planting industry in the first quarter of 2020. Furthermore, the breeding sow stock also expanded by 9.8 percent since the end of 2019.
2. Industrial and goods production
The statistics bureau noted a drop by 13.5 percent (YoY) on the total added value of the industrial enterprises above the designated size in the first two months of 2020.
There is a notable decrease in the total added value of foreign enterprises by 21.4 percent (YoY) and private enterprises by 20. 2 percent (YoY). Moreover, the manufacturing sector manifested the highest decline by 17.7 percent (YoY), followed by mining and electricity, thermal power, gas and water production, and supply.
On the other hand, medical, high tech and food products such as frozen meat and instant noodles showed significant growth.
3. Services production and emerging service industry
Financial services, information technology, and telecommunication recorded growth both in service production and business activity.
4. Sales of physical goods
Total retail sales of consumer goods declined by 20.5 percent (YoY), amounting to RMB 5,213 billion. Thus, income by consumption from catering and sales of retail goods experienced a considerable blow in the first two months.
5. Investment in fixed assets and investment in high tech and social sectors
Investments in fixed assets concerning infrastructure, manufacturing, real estate development, and high-tech industries declined. On the other hand, investment in inspection, testing, and professional technical services increased.
6. Market and consumer prices
The consumer price index (CPI) of commodities generally went up by 5.3 percent (YoY) which include the following:
- Food (grains, pork, fresh vegetables, except fruits);
- Tobacco and alcohol;
- Clothing and housing;
- Daily necessities;
- Transport and communication;
- Education, culture, and recreation;
- Medical services and healthcare, and others.
Among the food commodities, the prices of fresh fruits went down by 5.3 percent. Furthermore, the producer price index (PPI) for the industrial sector also dropped by 0.4 percent (YoY) in February.
Source: National Bureau of Statistics of China
7. Employment rate
The statistics bureau reported increased employment in urban areas by 1.08 million employed people during the first two months of the year. On the other hand, the department surveyed an unemployment rate of 5.06 percent among individuals aged 25 to 29. Meanwhile, employment among younger people aged 20 to 24 decreased by 0.6 percentage points higher than the former. The authority noted, however, that the rates of unemployment lowered in February compared to January.
8. Export and import deficit and trade structure optimization
In January and February, China experienced a decrease in the total value of its imports and exports by 9.6 percent (YoY). This amounted to RMB 4,123.8 billion where exports covered RMB 2,040.6 billion and imports equaled RMB 2,083.2 billion. The trade balance amounted to RMB 42.6 billion deficit.
Despite that, the bureau indicated that the value of general trade was 0.3 percentage higher than the same period of last year. Based on this, the total value of exports and imports accounted for 60.6 percent.