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SCIO press conference on China's economic performance in 2023

China.org.cn | January 26, 2024


Beijing Youth Daily:

In 2023, we faced multiple challenges: the global economic recovery was sluggish; at home, we got through frequent natural disasters and took on strenuous tasks in advancing reforms, promoting development, and maintaining stability. How was China's general economic performance? Did we realize the main objectives and tasks last year? Thank you.

Kang Yi:

Thank you for your questions. We have just detailed the overall economic performance of the whole year. Generally speaking, China has accomplished the major targets set for 2023 and seen a solid rebound and improvements in economic performance. Last year, the national economy witnessed the momentum of recovery, and achieved good results through high-quality development, and this hasn't been easy. 

First, the economy sustained the momentum of recovery. Last year, in terms of economic growth, China's GDP surpassed 126 trillion yuan, with the growth rate 2.2 percentage points higher than 2022. The trend of improvement was further strengthened, showing a lower curve in the early months, rising in the middle of the year, and then remaining at higher levels for the rest of the year. As calculated at comparable prices, the economic increment exceeded 6 trillion yuan in 2023, equivalent to the economic aggregate of a medium-sized country. The per capita GDP increased steadily and reached 89,358 yuan in 2023, up 5.4% from the previous year. Employment improved across the board. The surveyed urban unemployment rate fell by 0.4 percentage points in comparison to the previous year. Employment of migrant workers saw a remarkable improvement. Overall, prices posted a modest growth. The yearly CPI rose by 0.2%, and the core CPI by 0.7%. In terms of international balance of payment, annual export goods increased by 0.6%, and the year-end foreign exchange reserves surpassed $3.2 trillion. 

Second, we achieved sound development. Last year, we coordinated efforts to effectively upgrade the quality and appropriately expand economic output. The whole country prioritized high-quality development and gained increasing economic advantages through restructuring, transformation, and upgrading. High-quality development has been consolidated. The strategy to drive development through innovation was implemented thoroughly. Investment in innovation steadily increased. According to preliminary calculations, the nationwide R&D spending reached 3.32782 trillion yuan in 2023, accounting for 2.64% of GDP, up 0.08 percentage points from the previous year. Throughout the year, we achieved many significant scientific and technological innovations, with the manufacturing sector steadily growing more advanced, intelligent, and eco-friendly. The economic structure was optimized and upgraded. The service sector and consumption played stronger roles as the main driver of growth. In 2023, the service sector's added value accounted for 54.6% of the GDP, up 1.2 percentage points from the previous year. Final consumption expenditure contributed to 82.5% of total economic growth, up 43.1 percentage points from the previous year. The foundations of secured development have been further consolidated. Grain yield increased 1.3% from the previous year, raw coal 2.9%, crude oil 2%, and natural gas 5.8%. We secured the bottom line to prevent systematic risks, safeguard financial and economic safety, and better ensure people's livelihoods. The per capita disposable income realized an year-on-year growth of 6.1% in real terms. 

Third, China's growth ranked top among major economies. To assess the economic performance of China, we should compare it not only to previous years but also to other countries. In 2023, China realized a 5.2% economic growth, higher than the 3% estimated global growth, and ranked top among major economies around the world. As the most significant driving force, China's economy is expected to contribute more than 30% of the global economic growth. Meanwhile, as global trade is predicted to decrease, we realized a small growth in exports, maintaining a stable global market share. The CPI rose mildly, a strong contrast to the high inflation rates worldwide and the fact that some other countries struggled to control inflation and maintain growth. 

Fourth, all this hasn't been an easy feat. You wouldn't know how difficult it was unless you were there. In 2023, the world economy was sluggish, the international situation was complicated and evolving, and many geopolitical conflicts broke out. The external environment was increasingly intricate, stern, and uncertain. Domestically, we endured many cyclical and structural problems and experienced frequent natural disasters. Considering this, it is truly remarkable that we made these achievements possible. We owe our achievements to the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, the sound guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, and the concerted efforts of the Chinese people forging ahead with enterprise and fortitude. Our achievements are commendable and it is important to fully recognize their value. 

Looking ahead into 2024, we should also be aware of the complicated and challenging external environment, the lack of effective domestic demand, industries with overcapacity, weak public expectation, and many risks and hidden dangers. We still need to overcome some difficulties and challenges to further advance the recovery of China's economy. We will act upon the decisions and plans of the Central Economic Work Conference, take effective measures to cope with these difficulties and problems, and continue to make steady and sustained progress in the Chinese economy. Thank you.

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