China’s Economy Grew 18.3% In The First Quarter

China reported that its gross domestic product (GDP) grew 18.3% in the first quarter of the year.

While incredibly strong, China’s first quarter GDP came in below expectations of a 19% increase, according to analysts polled by news agency Reuters.

The surge in growth comes off a contraction in the first quarter of 2020, when China’s economy shrank by 6.8% during the height of its domestic outbreak of COVID-19. China was the first country to deal with the disease and the economy returned to growth by the second quarter of last year.

China’s National Bureau of Statistics said that this year’s first quarter GDP was largely fueled by retail sales, which rose 34.2% in March. At the same time, industrial production rose 14.1% in March.

The unemployment rate in China moved lower in March, dropping to 5.3% nationally, although the unemployment rate for Chinese workers aged 16 to 24 remains high at 13.6%.

Looking forward, the statistics bureau cautioned in an English-language statement that the spread of Covid-19 globally and the "international landscape is complicated with high uncertainties and instabilities."