China's economic recovery gains traction in May
China's economy has gradually overcome the negative impact of the epidemic, with main indicators showing marginal improvement in May, Fu Linghui, spokesperson for the National Bureau of Statistics, said Wednesday.
"The economy is showing good recovery momentum," Fu said at a press conference, but he warned that the economic recovery still faces many difficulties and challenges.
Fixed-asset investment rose 6.2 percent in the first five months, compared with a 6.8-percent gain in the first four months, data from the bureau showed.
Industrial output grew 0.7 percent in May from a year earlier, after falling 2.9 percent in April. The uptick was underpinned by the easing of COVID curbs in some industrial bases and strong global demand.
Industrial output in the Yangtze River Delta and northeastern regions, which were hit hard by the Omicron outbreak, improved remarkably in May, falling 3.2 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively, year on year. The decline rates were over 10 percentage points slower than those registered in April.
China's exports jumped 15.3 percent year on year in May, shattering expectations, as factories restarted and logistics snags eased.
Chinese banks extended 1.89 trillion yuan (US$279.9 billion) in new loans in May, nearly tripling April's tally and suggesting a recovery in credit demand.
The nationwide surveyed urban unemployment rate fell to 5.9 percent in May from 6.1 percent in April.
Retail sales fell 6.7 percent year on year in May, compared with the 11.1-percent decline in April.
"Consumption is still recovering from the fallout of the epidemic and will continue the momentum with employment remaining stable," Fu said.
"China is expected to register a reasonable economic growth in the second quarter if the epidemic is effectively controlled and the pro-growth measures are taking effect," the spokesperson said.
China has taken various measures to ease the negative effects that COVID-19 has had on the economy.
Last month, the State Council, or China's Cabinet, announced a package of 33 measures covering fiscal, financial, investment and industrial policies to revive the economy. The government has also been accelerating infrastructure spending to boost investment.
To shore up market entities, the country has unveiled measures including tax refunds and fee cuts, the deferral of social security contribution payments, and the smoothing of industrial and supply chains.
Noting that consumption remains weak and employment remains under pressure, Wen Bin, chief analyst at China Minsheng Bank, urged greater efforts to boost domestic demand and employment, give bailouts to industries and individuals in trouble, and improve confidence among market entities.
Looking ahead, the country will effectively coordinate epidemic prevention with economic and social development, step up macro policy adjustments, and make every effort to ensure the implementation of pro-growth policies to promote sustained economic recovery, Fu said.