Xi’s GDP estimate for China shows the economy grew by at least 4.4% in 2022

China’s gross domestic product surpassed 120 trillion yuan ($17.4 trillion, or about 300 trillion rand) this year, President Xi Jinping said, indicating the economy grew by at least 4.4% in 2022.

GDP hit 114.9 trillion yuan in 2021, according to revised estimates from the National Bureau of Statistics earlier this week. Xi gave the figure for 2022 in a New Year’s address on Saturday.

“The Chinese economy remains the second largest in the world and is enjoying solid development,” Xi said.

China’s expansion this year has been beset by repeated Covid outbreaks, an ongoing housing market slump, sluggish consumer demand and a waning appetite abroad for Chinese goods, all of which have contributed to the downturn. It faces further disruption in the coming months after the government abruptly abandoned the Covid-Zero strategy just as cases surged over the winter.

Analysts have forecast the country’s growth to slow to 3% in 2022. Economic activity in December contracted the most month-on-month since February 2020, according to manufacturing and non-manufacturing data released on Saturday.

Economists see a growing possibility for a faster and stronger recovery later in 2023. After what is likely to be a slow start in the January-March period, growth is expected to ramp up to 4.8% for the year, according to Bloomberg’s median estimate of economists polled.

“The Chinese economy enjoys great resilience, tremendous potential and great vitality,” Xi said. “The fundamentals supporting its long-term growth remain strong.”

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