China’s economy expanded at its fastest pace on record in the first quarter, data showed Friday.
The world’s second largest economy was the only major one to grow at all in 2020, supported by strong retail spending and industrial activity as well as better-than-expected exports as the virus hit markets around the world.
It marks the fastest pace since quarterly records began three decades ago, though the GDP figure of 18.3 percent is slightly below forecasts in an AFP survey of economists.
While the disease first emerged in central China in late 2019, the country was also the quickest to bounce back after authorities imposed strict control measures and consumers stayed home.
“The national economy made a good start,” National Bureau of Statistics spokeswoman Liu Aihua told reporters Friday.
The sharp spike was partly due to “incomparable factors such as the low base figure of last year and increase of working days due to staff staying put during the Lunar New Year” holiday, said Liu.
Migrant workers had been urged to remain in the areas where they work during the break owing to fears that the annual massive migration might lead to local outbreaks.