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Dow Jones Newswires: China’s economic activity grew faster than expected in January-February

BEIJING — China’s economic activity rebounded strongly in the first two months of the year, growing at a faster-than-expected pace, despite a high base of comparison a year earlier.

Industrial output in January-February rose 7.5% on year, up from a 4.3% increase in December, the National Bureau of Statistics said Tuesday.

The reading was much higher than the 3.5% growth expected by economists polled by The Wall Street Journal.

China combines major economic indicators in the first two months of the year to iron out distortions brought about by the different timing for the Lunar New Year holidays when business operations are suspended while workers return home for family reunions.

Retail sales, a major gauge of China’s consumption, increased 6.7% on year in the first two months, higher than the 1.7% increase in December and the 4.3% growth expected by surveyed economists.

China’s fixed-asset investment rose 12.2% on year in January-February, much higher than the 5% expected by economists and the 4.9% increase recorded in 2021.

The higher-than-expected economic growth came after China reported high double-digit growth in the same period last year when the world’s second largest economy bounced back strongly from initial coronavirus shocks at the start of 2020.

China’s surveyed unemployment rate in urban areas stood at 5.5% in February, on par with this year’s official target, but higher than the 5.1% rate recorded in 2021, the statistics bureau said.

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