China’s GDP grew 8.1% in 2021 as the economy’s rapid recovery from the pandemic faded in the second half of the year amid worst power shortages, turmoil in the real estate sector and reduction in consumption due to COVID-19 restrictions. China’s full-year GDP came in at 114.4 trillion-yuan (USD 18 trillion) in 2021, National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) data showed. The annual growth was partly due to a low comparison base in 2020, when the economy was disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic and grew by a mere 2.3%, the only major economy to have expanded that year.
Growth in the first, second, and third quarter were 18.3%, 7.9% and 4.9%, respectively. The fourth quarter growth was the weakest in one-and-half years. For the fourth quarter of 2021, the year-on-year growth rate was 4%, data from the NBS showed. The NBS said in a statement released on Monday that China sustained the continuous and steady recovery of the national economy but warned that the domestic economy is under the triple pressure of demand contraction, supply shock and weakening expectations due to a complicated and uncertain external environment.
State media quoting experts said that in the near term, the spread of highly transmissible Omicron variant across China including in Beijing, Tianjin and the southern Guangdong province as well as the Delta variant’s resurgence in multiple cities has cast a shadow on the spending during the Lunar New Year holidays and the economic outlook for the first quarter of 2022, though this impact is likely to fade away by the second quarter. According to a report issued by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, China’s GDP growth is projected to moderate at around 5.5% in 2022. The state media reported that growth of 8.1% was the fastest in nearly a decade and was well above the government’s annual target of achieving a growth rate above 6%.