China reports third-quarter GDP grew by 3.9%, beating expectations

Shipping containers sit in stacks at the Zhangjiagang Port on October 21, 2022.

Visual China Group | Getty Images

BEIJING — China reported Monday that third-quarter gross domestic product grew by 3.9% from a year ago, beating expectations.

The data was originally set for release on Oct. 18, but was delayed late on Oct. 17 with no explanation. China’s Communist Party held its 20th National Congress from Oct. 16 to Oct. 22.

Analysts polled by Reuters prior to Oct. 18 had expected China to report GDP growth of 3.4% for the third quarter.

The officially released 3.9% year-on-year growth for the third quarter marked a pickup from 0.4% in the second quarter, bringing year-to-date growth to 3%.

That’s still well below the official target of around 5.5%.

Covid controls on business activity, especially in the second quarter of the year, have weighed on growth and prompted many investment banks to slash their full-year forecasts to around 3%.

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Retail sales grew by 2.5% in September from a year ago, slowing from August and missing expectations of 3.3% according to the Reuters poll.

The urban unemployment rate ticked up to 5.5% in September. That of people ages 16 to 24 remained far higher at 17.9%.

Industrial production rose by 6.3%, well above the 4.5% increase expected by Reuters.

Fixed asset investment rose by 5.9% for the first three quarters of the year, a touch below Reuters’ forecast of 6%.

Investment in real estate declined by 8% during that time, greater than the 7.4% year-on-year decline recorded over the first eight months of the year.

Year-to-date investment in infrastructure sped up to 8.6% year-on-year growth as of September, from 8.3% as of August. That in manufacturing held about the same pace.

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