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China on road to recovery

business Updated: Jun 12, 2009 22:58 IST
Reshma Patil
Reshma Patil
Hindustan Times
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The world’s third-largest economy China is on the slow road to recovery from the global recession.

The country recorded a better-than-expected 8.9 per cent growth in industrial output during May, the highest monthly growth rate since October, according to figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics on Friday.

However, the worst may not be over. According to the state-run media, only 45 per cent of this year’s 6.1 million graduates have found jobs. Exports in May crashed by a record 26.4 per cent and millions of migrants laid-off from factories were still unemployed. But, export-driven factories and markets in southern and eastern China are reporting a slow rise in demand since April, compared to the slump from last October to March.

In another positive sign, retail sales beat Chinese tendencies to save, and grew 15.2 per cent. Retail sales from January to May this year were up 15 per cent from a year earlier. “Demand is gradually improving,” Credit Suisse economist Dong Tao told state-run China Daily on Thursday. “It is unevenly distributed but overall it is improving.”

“The figures definitely show that there is still very significant growth in China,’’ World Bank economist Louis Kuijs told Hindustan Times in Beijing. “The question is not whether China is recovering but that it is one of the few major economies seeing significant growth.’’

Last year, China’s growth slowed to a seven-year-low of 9 per cent after a double-digit run that hit 13 per cent in 2007. Premier Wen Jiabao has said China aims to be the first nation to recover from the recession. Last year, Beijing invested four trillion yuan ($585 billion) to help the economy grow 8 per cent this year.