China's GDP grew 7.9% in the second quarter; retail sales beat expectations

China's GDP grew 7.9% in the second quarter; retail sales beat expectations

July 15, 2021
  • The country's gross domestic product increased 7.9% in the second quarter from a year ago, the National Bureau of Statistics said Thursday. That fell short of Reuters' estimate of 8.1% growth.
  • Retail sales rose 12.1% in June from a year ago, more than the expected 11% level forecast by Reuters.
  • Industrial production grew by 8.3%, greater than the 7.8% Reuters estimate.

BEIJING — China reported second-quarter GDP growth that came in slightly below expectations, while retail sales and industrial production grew faster than forecast.

The country's gross domestic product increased 7.9% in the second quarter from a year ago, the National Bureau of Statistics said Thursday. That fell short of Reuters' estimate of 8.1% growth for the April to June period.

Second quarter GDP rose 1.3% from the first quarter, faster than the 0.6% pace between the first quarter of this year and fourth quarter of 2020. However, the latest quarterly increase was still slower than the 2.6% pace of the fourth quarter.

In the first quarter, GDP grew 18.3%, up from a contraction a year ago.

"China's economy sustained a steady recovery," the statistics bureau said in a release. But the bureau added there were still concerns about the global spread of the pandemic and "unbalanced" recovery domestically.

Retail sales rose 12.1% in June from a year ago, more than the expected 11% level forecast by Reuters.

Retail sales growth has lagged that of the overall economy, and missed analysts' expectations for the first two months of the second quarter.

Industrial production grew by 8.3%, greater than the 7.8% Reuters estimate.

In the last three months, Chinese authorities have also announced support for companies affected by the surge in commodity prices.

The urban survey unemployment rate held steady at 5% in June, while unemployment for the younger 16 to 24 age category climbed to 15.4%.

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On Thursday, a cut to the reserve requirement ratio (RRR), or the amount of funds banks must hold in reserve, was set to take effect. Authorities' initial hint of such a cut surprised investors last week, and signaled concerns of slower growth.

The cut is expected to release about 1 trillion yuan (or $154 billion) into the economy.

Meanwhile, China's customs agency said earlier this week that exports rose a more-than-expected 32.2% in June.

— CNBC's Yen Nee Lee contributed to this report.

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