China’s National Bureau of Statistics (UIB) released data on industrial production, retail sales, fixed capital investments and employment for the period January-February 2023.
Industrial production increased by 2.4 percent in the first two months compared to the same period of the previous year and by 1.1 percent compared to December 2022.
The increase in production output was 4.9 percent in the mining industry and 2.1 percent in the manufacturing industry.
The production of solar panels increased by 40.8 percent, while the production of electric vehicles with rechargeable batteries, hybrids and fuel cells, called “new energy vehicles” (NEVs), increased by 16.3 percent.
It was observed that industrial production, in which the production outputs of industrial enterprises with an annual turnover of more than 20 million yuan (approximately 2.9 million dollars) are calculated, lost its momentum in the last quarter of last year, when the effect of Kovid-19 restrictions was felt.
While industrial production increased by 5 percent in October 2022, the increase decreased to 2.2 percent in November 2022 and to 1.3 percent in December 2022.
UIB Spokesperson Fu Linghui said, “In the first two months of the year, the Chinese economy entered a gradual recovery process with increasing production demand, continuity in employment, stability in consumer prices and rising expectations in the market.”
Retail sales increased 3.5 percent year-on-year
On the other hand, retail sales, which are accepted as a measure of consumption, increased by 3.5 percent on an annual basis in the first two months after the decline in the last quarter of last year.
Retail sales decreased 0.5 percent in October, 5.9 percent in November and 1.8 percent in December in the last quarter of 2022.
Fixed capital investments increased
Fixed capital investments, which include infrastructure, real estate, machinery and equipment expenditures, increased by 5.5 percent in the first two months compared to the same period of the previous year.
While infrastructure investments increased by 9 percent, manufacturing investments increased by 8.1 percent, real estate investments decreased by 5.7 percent. Although it was observed that the 10 percent contraction in real estate investments slowed down last year, it was observed that the effect of financing problems in the sector continued.
Investments increased by 15.1% in high technology sectors, 18.8% in health and 4.8% in education.
Fixed capital investments had increased by 5.1 percent in 2022 compared to the previous year.
Unemployment rate in urban areas increased by 0.1 points to 5.6 in January and February compared to December 2022. Unemployment among the youth aged 16-24 increased from 17.1 percent in December 2022 to 18.1 percent.
The increase in unemployment and the still high youth unemployment are also interpreted as signs that the economic recovery is still fragile.