BEIJING—Chinese officials said Monday that gross domestic product expanded by 4.9% in the third quarter from a year earlier, putting China’s economy back toward its pre-coronavirus trajectory half a year after the pandemic gutted its economy.
The 4.9% growth figure for the third quarter fell short of expectations but brings China’s trajectory closer in line with forecasts made at the beginning of the year for 2020 growth of between 5.5% and 6%—forecasts made before the pandemic swept across the globe, killing more than a million people and crushing the global economy.
The third-quarter expansion builds on the second quarter’s 3.2% growth, which follows a historic contraction of 6.8% in the first three months of the year, when authorities locked down the central Chinese city of Wuhan in a bid to curb the fast-spreading virus.
The International Monetary Fund is projecting China’s economy to expand by 1.9% in 2020, putting it on track to be the only major world economy to grow this pandemic-hit year.
By contrast, the American economy is expected to shrink by 4.3%, while the eurozone is forecast to contract by 8.3%, the IMF said in its latest update this month.
Monday’s third-quarter growth number offers further evidence of China’s relative strength and moves the country’s economy into positive territory for the first nine months of the year, expanding 0.7% from a year earlier.
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