The National Economy Enjoyed Stable Performance with Growing Positive Factors in the First Quarter of 2019
National Bureau of Statistics of China2019-04-17 10:00




National Bureau of Statistics of China

17 April 2019

 

In the first quarter of 2019, under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core, all regions and departments implemented the decisions and arrangements made by the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, adhered to the general working guideline of making progress while maintaining stability, fully implemented the new development philosophy, conformed to the requirements of high quality development, made solid efforts to advance the supply-side structural reform, strengthened the counter-cyclical adjustment, and spared no effort to put the policies into effect. As a result, the national economy enjoyed stable performance with growing positive factors and stronger market expectation and confidence, sustaining the momentum of progress in overall stability.

 

According to the preliminary estimation, the gross domestic product (GDP) of China was 21,343.3 billion yuan in the first quarter, an increase of 6.4 percent at comparable prices year-on-year, the same as that of the fourth quarter last year, 0.4 percentage point lower than that of the same period last year and 0.2 percentage point lower than that of 2018. The value added of the primary industry was 876.9 billion yuan, up by 2.7 percent year-on-year; that of the secondary industry was 8,234.6 billion yuan, up by 6.1 percent; and that of the tertiary industry was 12,231.7 billion yuan, up by 7.0 percent.

 

1. Agricultural Production was Stable and the Planting Structure was Optimized.

 

In the first quarter of 2019, the value-added of agriculture (crop farming) grew by 4.4 percent year-on-year. The output of eggs grew by 2.3 percent and that of milk grew by 2.0 percent. The total output of pork, beef, mutton and poultry was 22.52 million tons, down by 2.8 percent year-on-year. Specifically, the output of pork was 14.63 million tons, down by 5.2 percent; that of beef, mutton and poultry was up by 1.7 percent 1.4 percent and 2.1 percent respectively. In March, with favorable weather in major farming areas, the spring ploughing and sowing went on smoothly in most areas under suitable sunshine and soil moisture, as well as good light and heat conditions. The planting area intended for soybean increased by 16.4 percent year-on-year, and that for quality middle-season rice and single-cropping late rice grew by 1.9 percent.

 

2. The Growth of Industrial Production Accelerated and the Proportion of High-tech Industries Went up.

 

The growth of the total value added of the industrial enterprises above the designated size was 6.5 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2019, 1.2 percentage points higher than that of the first two months and 0.8 percentage point higher than that of the fourth quarter last year, 0.3 percentage point lower than the same period last year. An analysis by types of ownership showed that the value added of the state holding enterprises was up by 4.5 percent; that of share-holding enterprises up by 7.8 percent; and that of enterprises funded by foreign investors or investors from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan up by 1.4 percent. In terms of sectors, the value added of the mining grew by 2.2 percent year-on-year, the manufacturing increased by 7.2 percent and the production and supply of electricity, thermal power, gas and water increased by 7.1 percent. The value added of high-tech industries grew by 7.8 percent year-on-year, 1.3 percentage points higher than that of the industrial enterprises above the designated size, accounting for 13.5 percent of that of the industrial enterprises above the designated size, 0.8 percentage point higher than the same period last year. The value added of strategic emerging industries grew by 6.7 percent year-on-year, 0.2 percentage point higher than that of the industrial enterprises above the designated size. New products registered fast growth, with the output of devices for mobile communication base stations, urban rail vehicles, new energy automobiles and solar cells growing by 153.7 percent, 54.1 percent, 48.2 percent and 18.2 percent respectively in the first quarter. In March, the total value added of the industrial enterprises above the designated size was up by 8.5 percent year-on-year, 3.2 percentage points higher than that of the first two months, or up by 1.0 percent month-on-month.

 

In the first two months, the profits made by industrial enterprises above the designated size stood at 708.0 billion yuan, down by 14.0 percent year-on-year, a slight decline compared with the same period last year after deducting the spring festival factor. The profit rate of the business revenue of the industrial enterprises above the designated size was 4.79 percent. Preliminary data showed that industrial enterprises improved their profits realization in March.

 

3. The Service Sector Grew Fast and the Growth of Main Industries Rebounded.

 

In the first quarter, the tertiary industry witnessed progress while maintaining overall stability. Specifically, the value-added of leasing and business services grew by 8.3 percent year-on-year, financial intermediation up by 7.0 percent, lodging and catering services up by 6.0 percent, wholesale and retail trade up by 5.8 percent, all registering higher growth rates than the fourth quarter of last year. Information transmission, software and information technology services maintained fast growth, up by 21.2 percent year-on-year.

 

In the first quarter of 2019, the Index of Services Production increased by 7.4 percent year-on-year, 0.1 percentage point higher than that of the first two months, or 0.2 percentage point higher than that of the fourth quarter last year. In March, the Index of Services Production was up by 7.6 percent year-on-year, 0.3 percentage point higher than that of the first two months. In the first two months, the business revenue of service enterprises above the designated size increased by 10.9 percent year-on-year, 0.5 percentage point lower than that of last year.

 

4. Market Sales Witnessed Accelerated Growth and the Share of Online Retail Sales Increased.

 

In the first quarter of 2019, the total retail sales of consumer goods reached 9,779.0 billion yuan, up by 8.3 percent year-on-year, 0.1 percentage point higher than that of the first two months, or 1.5 percentage points lower than that of the same period last year. Analyzed by different areas, the retail sales in urban areas reached 8,340.2 billion yuan, up by 8.2 percent, and the retail sales in rural areas stood at 1,438.8 billion yuan, up by 9.2 percent. Grouped by consumption patterns, the income of catering industry was 1,064.4 billion yuan, up by 9.6 percent; and the retail sales of goods reached 8,714.6 billion yuan, up by 8.2 percent. The sales of upgraded consumer goods witnessed fast growth. Specifically, the sales of cosmetics and telecommunication equipment by enterprises above the designated size grew by 10.9 percent and 10.0 percent year-on-year respectively, 2.6 percentage points and 1.7 percentage points higher than that of retail sales of consumer goods respectively. In March, the total retail sales of consumer goods went up by 8.7 percent year-on-year, 0.5 percentage point higher than that of the first two months, or up by 0.91 percent month-on-month.

 

In the first quarter of 2019, the online retail sales reached 2,237.9 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 15.3 percent, 1.7 percentage points higher than that of the first two months. Specifically, the online retail sales of physical goods were 1,777.2 billion yuan, up by 21.0 percent, accounting for 18.2 percent of the total retail sales of consumer goods, 1.7 percentage points higher than that of the first two months.

 

5. The Investment Rebounded Steadily and the Investment in High-tech Industries Grew Fast.

 

In the first quarter of 2019, the investment in fixed assets (excluding rural households) was 10,187.1 billion yuan, growing by 6.3 percent year-on-year, 0.2 percentage point higher than that of the first two months, or 1.2 percentage points lower than that of the same period last year. Specifically, the private investment reached 6,149.2 billion yuan, up by 6.4 percent. The investment in the primary industry grew by 3.0 percent; the secondary industry up by 4.2 percent, among which the investment in manufacturing grew by 4.6 percent; and the tertiary industry grew by 7.5 percent, among which the investment in infrastructure grew by 4.4 percent. The investment in the high-tech manufacturing went up by 11.4 percent year-on-year, 5.1 percentage points higher than that of the total investment; the investment in the high-tech services went up by 19.3 percent year-on-year, 13.0 percentage points higher than that of the total investment. In March, the investment in fixed assets (excluding rural households) grew by 0.45 percent month-on-month.

 

The total investment in real estate development in the first quarter was 2,380.3 billion yuan, up by 11.8 percent year-on-year, 0.2 percentage point higher than that of the first two months, or 1.4 percentage points higher than that of the same period last year. The floor space of commercial buildings sold reached 298.29 million square meters, down by 0.9 percent year-on-year, 2.7 percentage points lower than that of the first two months. The total sales of commercial buildings were 2,703.9 billion yuan, up by 5.6 percent, 2.8 percentage points higher than that of the first two months.

 

6. The Growth of Total Value of Imports and Exports Accelerated and the Trade Structure Continued to Optimize.

 

The total value of imports and exports in the first quarter was 7,005.1 billion yuan, up by 3.7 percent year-on-year , 3.0 percentage points higher than that of the first two months. The total value of exports was 3,767.4 billion yuan, up by 6.7 percent; the total value of imports was 3,237.7 billion yuan, up by 0.3 percent. The trade balance was 529.7 billion yuan in surplus, up by 75.2 percent over that of the same period last year. The trade structure continued to optimize. The value of general trade grew by 6.0 percent, accounting for 59.6 percent of the total value of imports and exports, 1.3 percentage points higher than that of the same period last year. The export of electrical and mechanical products increased by 5.4 percent, accounting for 58.8 percent of the total value of exports. The total value of imports and exports by private enterprises went up by 9.9 percent, accounting for 40.6 percent of the total value of imports and exports, 2.3 percentage points higher than that of the same period last year. In March, the total value of imports and exports was 2,462.6 billion yuan, up by 9.6 percent year-on-year, 8.9 percentage points higher than that of the first two months. Specifically, the total value of exports was 1,341.9 billion yuan, up by 21.3 percent; the total value of imports was 1,120.7 billion yuan, down by 1.8 percent.

 

In the first quarter, the export delivery value of the industrial enterprises above the designated size reached 2,766.3 billion yuan, up by 4.8 percent year-on-year. In March, the export delivery value of the industrial enterprises above the designated size stood at 1,029.2 billion yuan, up by 5.7 percent.

 

7. The Consumer Price Rose Mildly and the Producer Prices for Industrial Products Experienced Modest Growth.

 

In the first quarter, the consumer price went up by 1.8 percent year-on-year, 0.2 percentage point higher than that of the first two months, or 0.3 percentage point lower than that of the same period last year. Specifically, the price went up by 1.9 percent in urban areas and up by 1.8 percent in rural areas. Grouped by commodity categories, prices for food, tobacco and liquor went up by 2.2 percent; clothing up by 1.8 percent; housing up by 2.1 percent; articles and services for daily use up by 1.3 percent; transportation and communication down by 0.8 percent; education, culture and recreation up by 2.6 percent; medical services and health care up by 2.7 percent; other articles and services up by 2.1 percent. In terms of food, tobacco and liquor prices, prices for grain went up by 0.5 percent, pork down by 1.2 percent and fresh vegetables up by 6.9 percent. In March, the consumer price went up by 2.3 percent year-on-year, 0.8 percentage point higher than that of last month, or down by 0.4 percent month-on-month.

 

In the first quarter, the producer prices for industrial products went up by 0.2 percent year on year, 0.1 percentage point higher than that of the first two months, or 3.5 percentage points lower than that of the same period last year. In March, the producer prices for industrial products went up by 0.4 percent year-on-year, 0.3 percentage point higher than that of February, or up by 0.1 percent month-on-month. In the first quarter of 2019, the purchasing prices for industrial producers were up by 0.1 percent year-on-year and in March, it was up by 0.2 percent year-on-year, the same as that of February.

 

8. The Surveyed Unemployment Rate in Urban Areas Dropped Slightly and the Number of Rural Migrant Workers Continued to Increase.

 

In the first quarter of 2019, the newly increased employed people in urban areas totaled 3.24 million. In March, the surveyed unemployment rate in urban areas was 5.2 percent, 0.1 percentage point lower than that of February. Specifically, the surveyed unemployment rate of population aged from 25 to 59 was 4.8 percent, 0.4 percentage point lower than that of the surveyed unemployment rate in urban areas. The urban surveyed unemployment rate in 31 major cities was 5.1 percent, 0.1 percentage point higher than that of last month. The employees of enterprises worked averagely 46.0 hours per week, increased by 1.1 hours over that in February. At the end of March, the number of rural migrant workers reached 176.51 million, 2.10 million more than that of the same period last year, up by 1.2 percent, or 0.1 percentage point higher than that of the same period last year.

 

9. Residents Income Grew Steadily and the Income Growth of Rural Residents Outpaced that of Urban Residents.

 

In the first quarter, the nationwide per capita disposable income of residents was 8,493 yuan, a nominal growth of 8.7 percent year-on-year, or a real increase of 6.8 percent after deducting price factors, 0.2 percentage point higher than the same period last year. In terms of permanent residence, the per capita disposable income of urban households was 11,633 yuan, a real growth of 5.9 percent. The per capita disposable income of rural households was 4,600 yuan, a real growth of 6.9 percent. The per capita disposable income of urban households was 2.53 times that of the rural households, 0.02 less than that of the same period last year. The median of the nationwide per capita disposable income was 7,158 yuan, a nominal increase of 8.8 percent.

 

10. The Economic Restructuring was Advanced and the Transformation and Upgrading Made Remarkable Achievement.

 

The supply-side structural reform was deepened. In the first quarter, the national industrial capacity utilization rate reached 75.9 percent, the second highest since 2013 compared with the same period in the past. At the end of March, the floor space of commercial buildings for sale was 516.46 million square meters, 6.05 million square meters less than that at the end of February, down by 9.9 percent year-on-year. At the end of February, the asset-liability ratio of industrial enterprises above the designated size was 56.9 percent, down by 0.2 percentage point year-on-year. In the first quarter, the investment in ecological protection and treatment of environmental pollution and that in railway transport went up by 43.0 percent and 11.0 percent respectively, 36.7 percentage points and 4.7 percentage points higher than that of the total investment.

 

Steady efforts were made to advance the “three critical battles” of preventing and defusing financial risks, conducting targeted poverty eradication and controlling pollution. At the end of February, the balance of local governments debt stood at 19,142.0 billion yuan, which was within the limit approved by the National People’s Congress. The work of poverty eradication progressed steadily, with the per capita disposable income for rural households in impoverished areas registered fast growth. The work of pollution prevention and control continued to manifest effects and the share of clean energy consumption increased. According to preliminary estimation, the share of consumption of clean energy such as natural gas, hydropower, nuclear power and wind power in total energy consumption in the first quarter was 1.5 percentage points higher than that of same period last year. The energy consumption per unit GDP went down by 2.7 percent year-on-year.

 

The economic structure continued to optimize. In the first quarter of 2019, the value added of the tertiary industry accounted for 57.3 percent of total GDP, 0.6 percentage point higher than that of the same period last year, 18.7 percentage points higher than that of the secondary industry, contributing 61.3 percent to GDP growth, 24.4 percentage points higher than that of the secondary industry. Consumption continued to perform as the dominant driving force from demand side with final consumption expenditure contributing 65.1 percent to GDP growth. Service consumption took up 47.7 percent of households final consumption expenditure, 1.4 percentage points higher than that of the same period last year. With the integrated development of the eastern, central, western and northwestern regions, achievements scored in the coordinated development of the Beijng-Tianjin-Hebei region, the accelerated implementation of close coordination on environmental protection along the Yangtze River Economic Belt, the integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta, the issue of the Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and the building of Hainan Pilot Free Trade Zone , the layout of development was further improved.

 

11. Market Expectation Improved Notably and the Confidence in Development was Strengthened.

 

The Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) returned to the range of expansion. In March, the Manufacturing PMI was 50.5 percent, 1.3 percentage points higher than that of February, back to the range of expansion after staying below the threshold for three months in a row. All 5 sub-indices rebounded, among which the Production Index and the New Orders Index went up by 3.2 percentage points and 1.0 percentage point respectively. The Production and Operation Expectation Index was 56.8 percent, 0.6 percentage point higher than that of February. The Business Activity Index for Non-Manufacturing Industries stayed within the range of expansion. In March, the Business Activity Index for Non-Manufacturing Industries was 54.8 percent, 0.5 percentage point higher than that of last month. The Business Activity Index for services was 53.6 percent, 0.1 percentage point higher than that of last month. The New Orders Index for services stayed within the expansion range for 3 consecutive months. The Business Activity Index for construction stood at 61.7 percent, within the expansion range. The Composite PMI Output Index showed a marked rise. In March, the Composite PMI Output Index was 54.0 percent, 1.6 percentage points higher than that of last month. The expansion of production and operation of enterprises accelerated in general. In the first quarter, the Consumer Confidence Index was 124.6, 3.2 percentage points higher than that of the fourth quarter last year.

 

Generally speaking, the national economy performed within an appropriate range in the first quarter, sustaining the momentum of progress in overall stability with growing positive factors, which laid a sound foundation for the stable and healthy economic development of the whole year. However, at the same time we should also be aware that given slowing global economic growth and international trade, increasing international uncertainties and prominent domestic structural issues, the task of reform and development is arduous and the economic downward pressure still persist. At the next stage, taking Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era as the guideline, we should fully implement the spirit of the Central Economic Work Conference and the decisions of the Report on the Work of the Government, follow the general working guideline of making progress while maintaining stability, focus on the supply-side structural reform, make continuous efforts to win the “three critical battles”, take coordinated steps to achieve steady growth, advance reform, make structural adjustments, improve living standards, guard against risk and maintain stability, fully mobilize the initiative of all sectors of the society, and redouble efforts to implement policies in order to make national economy perform within an appropriate range and promote the high-quality development.

 

Notes:

 

1. The growth rates of gross domestic product, value added of the industrial enterprises above designated size and its sub-items are real growth by using comparable prices. The growth rates of other indicators are nominal growth by using current prices unless otherwise specified.

 

2. According to the auto-revision function of the seasonal adjustment model, revisions were made to quarter-on-quarter growth of GDP and to month-on-month changes of the value added of industrial enterprises above designated size, the investment in fixed assets (excluding rural households), and the total retail sales of consumer goods. The revised figures, quarter-on-quarter GDP growth estimates for the first quarter of 2019 and month-on-month changes of other indicators for March 2019 are as follows:

 

The quarter-on-quarter growth of GDP in 2018 and the first quarter of 2019 were 1.5 percent, 1.7 percent, 1.6 percent, 1.5 percent and 1.4 percent respectively.

 

Month-on-Month Changes

 

 

Value Added of Industrial Enterprises above Designated Size

(%)

Investment in Fixed  Assets (Excluding Rural Households)

(%)

Total Retail Sales of Consumer Goods

(%)

March 2018

0.37

0.44

0.85

April 2018

0.63

0.46

0.75

May 2018

0.51

0.43

0.10

June 2018

0.39

0.45

0.70

July 2018

0.43

0.43

0.71

August 2018

0.53

0.44

0.69

September 2018

0.49

0.46

0.76

October 2018

0.48

0.47

0.82

November 2018

0.40

0.43

0.72

December 2018

0.51

0.45

0.76

January 2019

0.46

0.46

0.86

February 2019

0.46

0.42

0.74

March 2019

1.00

0.45

0.91

 

3. Industrial enterprises above the designated size are industrial enterprises with annual revenue from principal business at and over 20 million yuan. As the number of industrial enterprises above the designated size changes every year, to ensure the data comparability between years, the coverage of the data of the same period last year used for estimating year-on-year growth rates like that of products output, are as consistent as possible with the current period and different from the coverage of the data published last year. The main reasons are as follows: First, the statistical units change. Every year, some enterprises are included in the survey as they meet the threshold, while some enterprises are removed from the survey because of downsizing. Besides, enterprises that have newly gone into operation, been bankrupted, cancelled their registrations or had their business licenses revoked also cause impact. Second, duplicated outputs across regions of enterprise groups have been removed based on the ad hoc surveys since duplication was found in the products output of some enterprise groups.

 

4. The Index of Services Production is the change of production in the reporting period compared to the base period with the price factors deducted.

 

5. The scope of the total retail sales of consumer goods include all legal entities, establishments and self-employed individuals involved in retail trades or providing catering services. Specifically, businesses above the designated size include wholesale enterprises (businesses), retail enterprises (businesses) and lodging and catering enterprises (businesses) with annual revenue from principal business over 20 million yuan, 5 million yuan and 2 million yuan respectively.

 

As the wholesale, retail, and lodging and catering enterprises (businesses) above the designated size change every year, to ensure the data comparability between years, the coverage of the data of the same period last year used for estimating year-on-year growth rates like that of the retail sales of consumer goods by businesses above the designated size is consistent with the current period and different from the coverage of data published last year. The main reasons are as follows: First, every year, some enterprises (businesses) are included in the survey as they meet the threshold, while some enterprises (businesses) are removed from the survey because of downsizing. Besides, enterprises (businesses) that have newly gone into operation, been bankrupted, cancelled their registrations or had their business licenses revoked also cause impact. Second, as for the monthly data of 2019, the businesses above the designated size by the end of 2018 were reviewed and verified and enterprises (businesses) that failed to meet the threshold were recategorized as below the designated size based on the results from the entities inventory checking of the fourth economic census (from August to December, 2018).

 

Online retail sales refer to the retail sales of goods and services realized through internet trading platforms (including self-built websites and third-party platforms). Goods and services include physical goods and non-physical goods (e.g. virtual goods and services).

 

The total retail sales of consumer goods include the online retail sales of physical goods, but not the non-physical goods.

 

6. The data of investment in fixed assets in the same period last year were revised according to the results of statistical law enforcement and inspection and entities inventory checking of the fourth economic census. The growth rates were calculated on a comparable basis.

 

7. Data of import and export are from the General Administration of Customs, PRC; data of newly increased employed people in urban areas are from the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, PRC.

 

8. Employed people refer to people aged 16 and over who have the ability to work and engage in gainful employment for remuneration payment or business income.

 

9. The median of the nationwide per capita disposable income of residents refers to the per capita disposable income of households which lies in the middle of all surveyed households ranked from low to high on the basis of per capita disposable income level.

 

10. Due to the round-off reasons, the subentries may not add up to the aggregate totals.

 

In case of any differences between English translation and the original Chinese text, the Chinese edition shall prevail.

 

 

 

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