China’s April economic activity shows improvement but falls short of expectations

In April, China experienced a boost in economic activity with improved consumption and industrial production compared to the previous year when COVID-19 lockdowns had a negative impact. Official data revealed that retail sales, an important indicator of consumption, grew by 18.4% year-on-year in April, surpassing the 10.6% increase in March but falling short of economists’ expectations of 20.5% growth.

On a monthly basis, retail sales in April rose by 0.49% compared to March. Similarly, industrial production showed acceleration with a 5.6% year-on-year increase in April, up from a 3.9% rise in March, although it was lower than the 11.0% growth anticipated by economists.

In contrast, China experienced a decline in industrial output by 0.47% in April compared to the previous month, as reported by the statistics bureau. Fixed-asset investment also slowed down in the January-April period, increasing by 4.7%, which was lower than the 5.1% growth recorded in the first quarter and below the expected 5.3% growth predicted by economists. 

On the employment front, China’s urban unemployment rate improved slightly to 5.2% in April, down from 5.3% in March. However, the youth unemployment rate for workers aged 16 to 24 years old reached a record high of 20.4%.