Guangdong GDP up 6.6%, better than expected

Amid a tough external trading environment, Guangdong has managed to hold up its economy in the first quarter, with GDP up 6.6% year-on-year. This was despite a sharp slowdown in exports and imports.

The provincial statistics bureau said the first quarter’s results were 0.1% higher than its previous forecast, indicating a good start to the year. This was largely due to strength in the services sector, which grew 7.1%. Bright spots were seen particularly in new energy vehicles, up 252.1%, followed by mobile communication base station equipment, up 154%. Retail sales overall were up 6.9%.

This was despite a gloomy mood among exporters and importers attending the Canton Fair, as reported last week. Their pessimism is understandable: exports from Guangdong in Q1 were up just 1.8% YoY, while imports plunged -4.8%. Exports to countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative rose 4.5% during the period.

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