China's economy grows at slowest pace since 2020 as lockdowns bite
Economic growth in China slowed sharply last quarter — with the economy expanding 0.4% from a year ago, the government said — as the country’s "zero COVID" policy spurred lockdowns in major cities that lasted for much of the three-month period.
Why it matters: Aggressive efforts to stamp out COVID-19 infections brought factory production and consumer spending to a crawl in the world’s second-biggest economy.
- China's economy managed to avoid a contraction by this measure, according to its government data — but recorded the slowest pace of growth since the beginning of 2020, when COVID initially spread in the country.
- For context, China's economy grew 4.8% in the first quarter from the previous year.
- By a different measure, the economy contracted 2.6% quarter-over-quarter in the April-June period.
The big picture: Lockdowns in China were felt across the world, as delayed shipments of goods to other countries compounded the supply chain snarls that have pushed up inflation.
- More recent economic data — also released by the country’s government on Thursday — points to recovering economic activity: in June, retail sales grew 3.1% (compared to a contraction of 7% in May) as restrictions in major cities like Beijing and Shanghai eased.
- Thirty-one cities remain under full or partial lockdowns, accounting for over 17% of the country’s economic activity, by investment bank Nomura’s count this week.
The bottom line: It was clear China's economy would take a hit as the worst COVID-19 outbreak yet on the mainland forced strict lockdowns.
- Though analysts have long treated government-released economic growth figures with suspicion, the data is a general gauge of just how much growth slowed.