Hong Kong

China’s economy expanded by 3% in 2022, far below the government’s target, according to the country’s National Bureau of Statistics on Tuesday.

It also marks one of the worst performances in nearly half a century.

But economic growth grew by 2.9% in the fourth quarter, beating market expectations. A Reuters poll of economists had previously estimated expansion of just 1.8%.

“China’s economy likely bottomed in December,” said Zhiwei Zhang, president and chief economist at Pinpoint Asset Management. “For many cities in China, the peak of the first wave [of Covid outbreaks] likely already passed. High frequency indicators such as traffic congestion index rebounded sharply in January.”

The statistics bureau also revealed that China’s population shrank. The country had 1.4118 billion people in 2022, compared to 1.4126 billion in 2021. Analysts said the decline was the first since 1961.

“The population will likely trend down from here in coming years. This is very important, with implications for potential growth and domestic demand,” Zhang said.

This is a developing story. More to come …

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