China’s Q1 performance shows stable, optimized business operations: Commerce ministry

BEIJING: China’s economy has started the year on solid footing with business operations that remained stable and structurally optimized in the first quarter, according to a Chinese commerce ministry official on Friday.

These have continued to contribute positively to the country’s ongoing economic recovery, said Chinese Vice Commerce Minister Guo Tingting at a media conference.

The country registered a 5.3 percent year-on-year increase in GDP for the quarter, fueled largely by consumer spending, which accounted for 73.7 percent of this growth, driving the GDP up by 3.9 percentage points. Sales of upgraded consumer goods saw rapid growth, reinforcing consumption as a key engine of economic expansion.

Trade also began the year robustly, with the volume of goods traded reaching a record high of 10.2 trillion yuan ($1.43 trillion) for the first time in a single quarter, achieving a growth rate of 5 percent – the highest in six quarters. This uptick was bolstered by net exports, which contributed 14.5 percent to economic growth.

The markets remained vibrant, with trade among Belt and Road Initiative participant countries increasing by 5.5 percent. Trade with developed markets, including significant growth with the U.S., improved markedly from the same period last year.

Chinese officials at a press conference to talk about the country's first-quarter business operations and work updates. /CFP

Chinese officials at a press conference to talk about the country’s first-quarter business operations and work updates. 

A recent Ministry of Commerce survey of key foreign trade enterprises indicated a boost in business sentiment, with companies reporting employment growth in March increasing by 1.7 percentage points over the first two months, reaching 88.8 percent.

In terms of foreign investment, the quarter saw the establishment of over 12,000 new foreign-funded enterprises, an increase of 20.7 percent. The investment landscape has also improved, particularly in high-tech manufacturing, which attracted 12.5 percent of the total foreign investment, marking an increase of 2.2 percentage points from last year.

Overseas investments remained steady, with non-financial direct investments abroad totaling 242.9 billion yuan, up by 12.5 percent. Investments in the ASEAN and EU regions saw significant gains, increasing by 36.7 percent and 34.5 percent, respectively.

This strong start to the year underlines the resilience and dynamic evolution of China’s economy in the face of global economic uncertainties, according to the ministry.

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