National Economy Withstood the Impact of COVID-19 in the First Two Months
National Bureau of Statistics of China
16 March 2020
In the first two months, despite the sudden outbreak of covid-19, under the strong guidance of CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, all regions and departments coordinated efforts to advance both the prevention and control of the epidemic and the economic and social development, made an all-out effort to fight the battle against the epidemic, and scored significant achievements. Thanks to these policies and measures, the resumption of work and production accelerated, and the order of production and life was gradually restored. The national economy performed in an orderly manner and people’s basic livelihood were effectively guaranteed.
1. The Overall Agricultural Production Was Steady and Spring Ploughing Preparation Was in Full Swing.
The sown area of winter wheat reached 331 million mu. The growth condition of the seedling is generally stable and sound at present. Till the end of February, grade I and grade II seedling from core winter wheat production areas increased by 3 percentage points over that of the same period last year. The cultivation area of vegetables was scaled up. The spring ploughing preparation was deployed nationwide and the supply of agriculture materials such as seeds, chemical fertilizers and pesticides was guaranteed.
2. Industrial Production Dropped and the Production of Important Goods Maintained Growth.
In the first two months, the total value added of the industrial enterprises above the designated size dropped by 13.5 percent year on year. An analysis by types of ownership showed that, in the first two months, the value added of the state holding enterprises went down by 7.9 percent year on year; share-holding enterprises down by 14.2 percent; enterprises funded by foreign investors or investors from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan down by 21.4 percent; and private enterprises down by 20.2 percent. In terms of sectors, the value added of mining went down by 6.5 percent, manufacturing down by 15.7 percent and the production and supply of electricity, thermal power, gas and water down by 7.1 percent. An analysis by items and output showed that protective medical equipment and products concerning people’s livelihood registered fast growth. The production of masks, fermented alcohol grew by 127.5 percent and 15.6 percent respectively, and that for frozen meat and instant noodles grew by 13.5 percent and 11.4 percent respectively. Hi-tech products manifested sound growing momentum, with the output of smart watches, smart bands, semiconductor discrete devices and integrated circuits growing by 119.7 percent, 45.1 percent, 31.4 percent and 8.5 percent. The production of basic raw materials was steady, with the production of cast iron, crude steel, plate glass and ten kinds of nonferrous metal growing by 3.1 percent, 3.1 percent, 2.3 percent and 2.2 percent. According to the survey result of purchasing managers, the resumption rate of large and medium-sized maufacturing companies registered 85.6 percent by the end of February 25th, and production and business operation are being restored in an orderly manner.
3. Services Production Declined and Emerging Service Industry Sustained Development.
In the first two months, the Index of Services Production declined by 13.0 percent year on year. Specifically, financial services grew by 4.5 percent and information transmission, software and information technology services grew by 3.8 percent, while other industries declined by varying degrees. In February, the Business Activity Index for services was 30.1 percent. Specifically, the Business Activity Index for financial services stood at 50.1 percent, continuing to remain within the expansion range. The Business Activity Index for sectors like telecommunication and internet software industry reached 43.3 percent and 41.4 percent, 13.2 percentage points and 11.3 percentage points higher than the Business Activity Index for services, demonstrating a noticeably better performance than the service industry as a whole.
4. The Market Sales Dropped, and the Sales of Daily Necessities and the Online Retail Sales of Physical Goods Continued to Grow.
In the first two months, the total retail sales of consumer goods reached 5,213.0 billion yuan, a year-on-year decline of 20.5 percent. Analyzed by different areas, the retail sales in urban areas reached 4,488.1 billion yuan, down by 20.7 percent year on year, and the retail sales in rural areas stood at 724.9 billion yuan, down by 19.0 percent. Grouped by consumption patterns, the income of the catering was 419.4 billion yuan, down by 43.1 percent; and the retail sales of goods were 4,793.6 billion yuan, down by 17.6 percent. Commodities closely related to people’s lives witnessed growth. The grain, oil and food, beverages and traditional Chinese and western medicine by businesses above the designated size grew by 9.7 percent, 3.1 percent and 0.2 percent respectively. In the first two months, the online retail sales reached 1,371.2 billion yuan, down by 3.0 percent year on year. Of the total, the online retail sales of physical goods stood at 1,123.3 billion yuan, up by 3.0 percent, accounting for 21.5 percent of the total retail sales of consumer goods, 5.0 percentage points higher than that of the same period last year.
5. The Investment of Fixed Assets Decreased and the Decline of Investment in High-tech Industries and Social Sectors Was Less than the Average.
In the first two months, the investment in fixed assets (excluding by rural households) was 3,332.3 billion yuan, down by 24.5 percent year on year. Specifically, the investment in infrastructure, manufacturing and real estate development declined by 30.3 percent, 31.5 percent and 16.3 percent respectively. The floor space of commercial buildings sold reached 84.75 million square meters, down by 39.9 percent. The total sales of commercial buildings were 820.3 billion yuan, down by 35.9 percent. The investment in the primary industry was down by 25.6 percent; that in the secondary industry down by 28.2 percent; and that in the tertiary industry down by 23.0 percent. The private investment reached 1,893.8 billion yuan, down by 26.4 percent. The investment in high-tech industries went down by 17.9 percent, 6.6 percentage points lower than the decline of the total investment, of which the investment in high-tech manufacturing industries and high-tech service industries went down by 16.5 percent and 20.8 percent respectively. The investment in inspection and testing services and professional technical services grew by 26.1 percent and 4.3 percent respectively. The investment in social sectors declined by 20.0 percent, of which that in health sector went down by 11.2 percent, 13.3 percentage points less than the decline of the total investment.
6. Market Prices Was Generally Stable, and the Growth of Consumer Prices and the Producer Prices for Industrial Products Showed Diverged Development.
In the first two months, the consumer price went up by 5.3 percent year on year. Grouped by commodity categories, prices for food, tobacco and alcohol went up by 15.6 percent year on year; clothing up by 0.5 percent; housing up by 0.4 percent; articles and services for daily use up by 0.1 percent; transport and communication down by 0.4 percent; education, culture and recreation up by 1.6 percent; medical services and health care up by 2.2 percent; other articles and services up by 4.6 percent. Among the prices for food, tobacco and alcohol, the prices for grain went up by 0.6 percent year on year, fresh vegetables up by 13.8 percent, pork up by 125.6 percent and fresh fruits down by 5.3 percent. Core CPI excluding the price of food and energy went up by 1.3 percent. In January and February, the consumer price went up by 5.4 percent and 5.2 percent year on year, and up by 1.4 percent and 0.8 percent month on month respectively.
For the first two months, the producer prices for industrial products went down by 0.2 percent year on year. The producer prices for industrial products in January grew by 0.1 percent year on year, maintaining the same level on a month-on-month basis. The producer prices for industrial products in February went down by 0.4 percent year on year, or down by 0.5 percent month on month. In the first two months, the purchasing prices for industrial producers went down by 0.4 percent year on year.
7. The Surveyed Unemployment Rate Rose and the Employment for Major Labor Force Was Generally Steady.
In the first two months, the newly increased employed people in urban areas numbered 1.08 million. In February, the urban surveyed unemployment rate was 6.2 percent and that in 31 major cities was 5.7 percent. Specifically, the surveyed unemployed rate of the major labor force aged from 25 to 59 was 5.6 percent, 0.6 percentage point lower than the urban surveyed unemployment rate and that of people aged from 20 to 24 who received junior college education and above was 0.4 percentage point lower compared to January. The employees of enterprises worked averagely 40.2 hours per week, 6.5 hours less than that of January.
8. Deficit Occurred in Import and Export and Trade Structure Continued to be Optimized.
In the first two months, the total value of imports and exports was 4,123.8 billion yuan, a year-on-year decrease of 9.6 percent. Specifically, the total value of exports reached 2,040.6 billion yuan, down by 15.9 percent; and that of imports reached 2,083.2 billion yuan, down by 2.4 percent. The trade balance was 42.6 billion yuan in deficit. The trade structure continued to be optimized. The value of general trade accounted for 60.6 percent of the total value of imports and exports, or 0.3 percentage point higher than the same period of last year. The imports and exports by private enterprises accounted for 41.9 percent of the total value of imports and exports, or 1.3 percentage points higher than the same period of last year. Trade with ASEAN and countries along the Belt and Road maintained growth, with trade value growing by 2.0 percent and 1.8 percent each. The imports and exports with countries along the Belt and Road accounted for over 30 percent of the total value of imports and exports for the first time. In the first two months, the export delivery value of industrial enterprises above the designated size reached 1,354.5 billion yuan, a year-on-year decline of 19.1 percent.
The economic development in the first two months was affected by the outbreak of covid-19. However, from a comprehensive perspective, the impact of the viral disease is short-term, external and manageable. At present, the virus spread has been basically curbed and the outlook for epidemic prevention and control is getting positive. The people’s basic livelihood are strongly ensured, the overall situation of society is stable, and the economic fundamentals for long-term sound economic development and progressing trend remain unchanged. For the next step, under the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, we must fully implement the policies and plans made by the CPC Central Committee, coordinate efforts to advance both the prevention and control of the epidemic and the economic and social development. We must make every effort on the prevention and control of the epidemic with attention paid to every detail and take a region-specific, tiered, category-based and phased approach to orderly resume work and production. We will work on an orderly flow of human, financial and material resources, good alignment of production, supply and distribution and unimpeded trade both at home and abroad, formulate corresponding macro regulation policies to mitigate the epidemic’s impact, unleash the vitality and potential of micro entities, minimize the loss caused by the epidemic and strive to restore the economic and social order in a bid to promote the steady and sound development of the economy.
1. The growth rate of value added of 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. Industrial enterprises above designated size are industrial enterprises with annual revenue from principal business over 20 million yuan.
As industrial enterprises 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 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.
3. The Index of Services Production is the change of production in the reporting period compared to the base period with the price factors deducted.
4. 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: 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 every year. Besides, enterprises (businesses) that have newly gone into operation, been bankrupted, cancelled their registrations or had their business licenses revoked also cause impact.
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.
Data of the total retail sales of consumer goods in 2019 are revised according to the results of the fourth national economic census. The growth rate in the first two months of 2020 is calculated on a comparable basis.
5. Data of investment in fixed assets of the same period last year are revised according to the results of the fourth national economic census, the statistical law enforcement and inspection, and regulations on statistical survey programs. The growth rates are calculated on a comparable basis.
6. Employed people refer to people aged 16 and above who have the ability to work and engage in gainful employment for remuneration payment or business income.
7. Data of newly increased employed people in urban areas are from the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security. And data of imports and exports are from the General Administration of Customs.
8. Due to the rounding-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.