China's GDP grew by 5.2 percent year-on-year in the first three quarters of this year, above the target of about 5 percent, as the economy developed new momentum, aided by the government's broad pro-growth policies.
Dismissing Western media smears of China's economy, Chinese officials and analysts expressed full confidence in the country's ability to reach its annual target for 2023. The full-year target will be achieved, provided fourth-quarter GDP growth reaches 4.4 percent.
Despite the grave and complex international environment and challenging tasks in promoting reform, development and stability at home, the economic recovery sustained its momentum and improvement, with positive factors amassing, Sheng Laiyun, a deputy director of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), said on Wednesday.
According to NBS data released on Wednesday, GDP grew by 5.2 percent in the first nine months of the year to 91.3 trillion yuan ($12.5 trillion). In the third quarter alone, GDP grew 4.9 percent year-on-year, which far outpaced economists' forecasts of 4.3-4.6 percent growth.
"The achievement was hard-won amid rising global uncertainties, growing trade protectionism and some domestic property market problems. However, the result wasn't totally unexpected, as the authorities have announced targeted macro-policies to inject momentum into the continuous economic recovery," Cao Heping, an economist at Peking University, told the Global Times on Wednesday.
Many factors contributed to the recovery in the first three quarters, including the continuous release of domestic demand and the stable growth of foreign trade and industrial output, displaying strong resilience, potential and vitality, analysts said.
Retail sales jumped by 5.5 percent year-on-year in September, expanding by 0.9 percentage points on a monthly basis.
The total value-added of industrial enterprises above the designated size grew by 4.0 percent year-on-year in the first three quarters, 0.2 percentage points faster than in the first half.
In September, fixed-asset investment grew steadily by 0.15 percent month-on-month.
"In addition to a continuous consumption recovery, industrial output is another bright spot. There is a notable trend of growth in the industrial sector, and a turning point appears to have been reached for companies expanding inventory," Wan Zhe, an economist and professor at the Belt and Road School of Beijing Normal University, told the Global Times on Wednesday.
The sound and healthy operation of the world's second-largest economy has continued to defy Western naysayers, analysts said, expressing firm faith in China's economic outlook and its irreplaceable role in driving a global economic recovery.
"It won't be hard to achieve the full-year GDP growth goal of about 5 percent this year, with employment targets to be achieved too," Wan said. The economy is still recovering and has further growth potential, she said, with numerous advantages such as a strong new-energy sector and technological advances, as well as abundant talent and scale production.
"The economy will continue to recover in the fourth quarter and maintain an overall upward trend. We are fully confident that the economy will achieve the preset target of around 5 percent," Sheng said.
From production to demand, and from economic expectations to day-to-day activity, the economy had maintained its recovery momentum during the first three quarters of the year. We believe the economy will continue to maintain a stable and upward trend in the fourth quarter, said the official.
China's fourth-quarter GDP growth may reach 5.5 percent, which will contribute to the achievement of the annual target, Cao said.
In response to continuous Western media bad-mouthing, Cao said "they usually give the worst prediction for China's economy," and that China will not experience a Japan-style economic stagnation of the 1990s because the fundamentals of the Chinese economy are stable, the tech sector is making rapid progress and the consumer outlook is sound.
Zhou Maohua, an economist at China Everbright Bank, told the Global Times on Wednesday that the recovery will gain further traction in the fourth quarter, with further improved consumption, employment and income levels as well as improved consumer confidence as a result of an overall improved economy.
Fixed-asset investment is expected to accelerate, with investment in manufacturing sector poised to increase with improved corporate profitability and a reduced dragging effect from the property sector, Zhou said.