(Yicai Global) April 8 -- Chief economists polled by Yicai Global have marginally downgraded their assessment of China’s economic growth this year to less than 8.5 percent amid the prolonged Covid-19 pandemic abroad.
China’s gross domestic product may grow by 8.46 percent over the year, according to the average prediction of 20 chief economists at major financial institutions in China. That is lower than the 8.81 percent forecast they made late last year.
The survey’s respondents were divided over the outlook, with slightly more than 40 percent of them lowering their forecasts and a bit less than 30 percent lifting their expectations.
Earlier this week the International Monetary Fund raised its 2021 growth estimate for China to 8.4 percent, a 0.3 percentage point increase on its January forecast.
Annual economic growth will reach at least 7.5 percent due to last year’s low base, the uptake of Covid-19 vaccines, and as consumers and policymakers get used to the ‘new normal’ of epidemic prevention and control measures, according to Xu Sitao, chief economist at Deloitte China.
GDP will have logged double-digit growth in the first quarter as last year’s base was so sunken, said KPMG’s Kang Yong. GDP contracted 6.8 percent in the first quarter of 2020. But the recovery took hold soon thereafter, so it will become harder for the economy to expand as quickly.
The survey’s participants expect China’s industrial added value to have risen by 17.31 percent last month, down from a February prediction of a 35.1 percent gain. Retail sales of consumer goods should have expanded by 27.55 percent in March, down from an estimated 33.8 percent jump.
The road ahead is level. China's future policies should maintain stability and sustainability, so it is unlikely that the benchmark deposit rate, the one-year loan prime rate, and the reserve requirement ratio for commercial banks will change this month, according to the chief economists.
Yicai Global’s survey was conducted before the release of some official data this month. The National Bureau of Statistics is set to announce major price indexes for March and the first quarter today and other key economic data on April 16. The General Administration of Customs is scheduled to release trade data on April 13.
Editor: Emmi Laine, Xiao Yi