BEIJING- China’s economy is expected to grow at its weakest pace in over four decades even as it steadily recovers from a coronavirus-induced dive earlier this year, but overall output could rebound sharply in 2021, a Reuters poll showed.
The world’s second-biggest economy is now expected to expand by 2.1 percent in 2020, according to the median of 37 analysts surveyed by Reuters, down slightly from the 2.2 percent growth projected in the last poll in July.
That would make China the only major economy to grow in 2020, albeit at the slowest annual pace since 1976, the final year of Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution.
China’s economic recovery accelerated in the third quarter as consumers shook off their coronavirus caution, although the weaker-than-expected headline growth highlighted some persistent risks including from resurgent COVID-19 cases globally and ongoing tensions with the United States over a range of issues.
The poll forecast fourth-quarter GDP to rise 5.8percent year-on-year, quickening from 4.9percent in July-September.
Growth is projected to pick up to 8.4percent in 2021, as the global economy is set to recover from the health crisis, according to the poll.
“With exports strong and domestic consumption and investment both improving, Q4 could be one of the best quarters for overall growth in a few years,” analysts at research firm Gavekal Dragonomics said in a note.
“Growth momentum should peak in the first half of 2021, though base effects will confuse the data readings.”
The economy has been recovering steadily from a steep 6.8percent slump in the first quarter, when it was jolted by the pandemic.