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How to read China’s economic report card for the first 5 months of 2024

If we exclude real estate development investment, national fixed asset investment grew by 8.6 per cent in the first five months, exceeding gross domestic product (GDP) growth. This indicates that, excluding real estate, fixed asset investment has already recovered to pre-pandemic levels.

Third, the recovery of consumption, which has contributed most to GDP growth in recent years, seems to be falling short of market expectations. For example, in the first five months, the total retail sales of consumer goods increased by 4.1 per cent year on year. In May, it grew by only 3.7 per cent.

The data indicates that, overall, China’s economy is undergoing a comprehensive recovery. So why do consumers, investors and entrepreneurs remain less confident about the economic outlook?

G. Bin Zhao is founding chairman of the Global CEO Institute