China Macro Flash

Macro Flash: China Economic statistics (Jan.-Feb. 2021)

From January to February, due to factors such as the low base in the same period in 2020 , the year-on-year growth rate of China’s economy main indicators is relatively high.

Source: NBS Press release

1. The growth of industrial production is accelerating, and the equipment manufacturing industry and high-tech manufacturing industry are growing well.

Large enterprises industrial added value increased 35.1% on a year-on-year basis in Jan-Feb. 2021. Compared with 2019 01-02 it grew by 16.9%. The value added of state-owned holding companies increased by 23.0% year-on-year ; for joint-stock companies increased by 34.2% , for foreign companies, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan-invested companies it increased by 41.4% ; finally, for private companies it increased by 43.8% . The value added of the mining industry increased by 17.5% year-on-year – an average increase of 4.8% in two years – the VA of the manufacturing industry increased by 39.5%. The added value of the equipment manufacturing industry and high-tech manufacturing industry increased by 59.9% and 49.2% year-on-year respectively. 

In terms of product output, the growth rate of new energy (EV) vehicles, trucks, industrial robots, excavating and shovelling transportation machinery, and microcomputer equipment all exceeded100%. From a month-on-month perspective, the added value of industries above designated size nationwide in February increased by 0.69% over the previous month. In February, China’s Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index was 50.6%, which was higher than the threshold for 12 consecutive months; the expected index of enterprise production and operation activities rose to 59.2% , 1.3 percentage points higher than the previous month .

2. The services industry is gradually recovering, and the business activity index of the services industry is in the expansion range

For January and February, the services industry production index increased by 31.1% year-on-year over the same period a year ago and 14.1% over the January-February 2019 . From the perspective of major industries, the real estate industry, information transmission, software, and information technology service industries grew by 51.4% and 26.1% year-on-year respectively.  In February, the services industry business activity index was 50.8%, which was above the threshold for 12 consecutive months. From the perspective of the industry, the business activity indexes of retail, catering, entertainment and other industries closely related to household consumption are all in the expansion range and higher than last month. In terms of market expectations, the services industry business activity expectation index was 63.2%, 7.9 percentage points higher than last month .

3. Market sales have maintained growth, and sales of upgraded consumer goods have grown rapidly

  From January to February , the total retail sales of consumer goods was 6973.7 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 33.8%, an increase of 6.4% over the first two months of 2019, and an average growth rate of 3.2% over the two years. According to the location of the business unit, the retail sales of consumer goods in urban areas was 6,055.2 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 34.9% , an average increase of 3.4% in two years ; the retail sales of consumer goods in rural areas was 918.5 billion yuan, an increase of 26.7% , and an average increase of 1.3% in two years. 

Classified by consumption type, catering revenue was 708.5 billion yuan, an increase of 68.9% year-on-year , and an average decline of 2.0% in two years ; retail sales of goods were 625.1 billion yuan, an increase of 30.7% , and an average increase of 3.8% in two years. The sales of most products are growing well, and the sales of consumer upgrade products are growing rapidly. From January to February , among the retail sales of commodities above designated size, 18 commodity categories all grew at a rate of over 10% year-on-year; The year-on-year growth rates of communication equipment and sports and entertainment products were 53.1% and 45.6% respectively , and the average growth rate for the two years was 18.2% . Online retail continues to increase. From January to February , the national online retail sales reached 1,758.7 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 32.5%. Among them, the online retail sales of physical goods was 1441.2 billion yuan, an increase of 30.6% , accounting for 20.7% of the total retail sales of consumer goods . From a month-on-month perspective, the total retail sales of consumer goods in February increased by 0.56% over the previous month.

4. Investment in fixed assets has grown steadily, and investment in high-tech industries and social fields has grown rapidly

  From January to February , the national investment in fixed assets (excluding rural households) was 4,523.6 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 35.0%, an increase of 3.5% over the first two months of 2019, and the two-year average growth rate was 1.7%. 

In terms of sectors, infrastructure investment increased by 36.6% year-on-year, with a two-year average drop of 1.6% ; manufacturing investment increased by 37.3% , with an average two-year decline of 3.4% ; real estate development investment increased by 38.3% , with an average two-year growth of 7.6% . The sales area of ​​commercial housing nationwide was 173.63 million square meters, a year-on-year increase of 104.9% , an average increase of 11.0% in two years ; the sales of commercial housing was 1,915.1 billion yuan, an increase of 133.4% , and an average increase of 22.3% in the two years

In terms of industries, investment in the primary industry increased by 61.3% year-on-year , an average increase of 15.8% in two years ; investment in the secondary industry increased by 34.1% , an average decline in two years by 1.8% ; investment in the tertiary industry increased by 34.6% , an average increase of 2.8% in two years. Private investment increased by 36.4%, an average increase of 1.4% in two years. Investment in high-tech industries increased by 50.1% year-on-year ; among them, investment in high-tech manufacturing and high-tech service industries increased by 50.3% and 49.8% respectively. In the high-tech manufacturing industry, investment in the computer and office equipment manufacturing industry, medical instrument equipment and instrumentation manufacturing industry increased by 99.5% and 66.6% respectively ; in the high-tech service industry, investment in the e-commerce service industry and R&D and design service industry increased by 88.4% respectively , 85.3%. Investment in the social sector increased by 48.0% year-on-year, of which investment in health and education increased by 63.0% and 53.0% respectively. From a month-on-month perspective, fixed asset investment in February increased by 2.43% over the previous month .

5. Goods imports and exports have increased significantly, and the trade structure has continued to improve

  From January to February , the total value of imports and exports of goods was 5441.8 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 32.2% . Among them, exports were 3,058,800 million yuan, an increase of 50.1% ; imports, 2,383 billion yuan, an increase of 14.5% . The import and export balance, the trade surplus was 675.9 billion yuan. The trade structure has improved. From January to February , exports of mechanical and electrical products increased by 54.1% year-on-year , accounting for 60.3% of total exports . General trade imports and exports accounted for 61.6% of total imports and exports , an increase of 1 percentage point over the same period last year . The import and export of private enterprises accounted for 47.2% of the total import and export, an increase of 5.5 % over the same period last year .

6. The urban surveyed unemployment rate dropped year-on-year, and the employment situation was generally stable

  From January to February , 1.48 million new jobs were created in cities and towns across the country . In January , the nationwide surveyed unemployment rate in urban areas was 5.4%. In February, the nationwide surveyed unemployment rate in urban areas was 5.5%, a decrease of 0.7 percentage points from the same period last year . The unemployment rate in the local household registration survey was 5.7%, and the unemployment rate in the foreign household registration survey was 5.2%. The unemployment rates of the population aged 16-24 and population surveyed aged 25-59 were 13.1% and 5.0% respectively. The surveyed unemployment rate in 31 large cities and towns was 5.5%. The average weekly working hours of employees in enterprises across the country is 46.3 hours.

7. Consumer prices fell year-on-year, while factory prices for industrial producers rose year-on-year

  For January to February , the national consumer prices fell 0.3% year-on-year. In terms of categories, the prices of food, tobacco and alcohol rose by 0.9% year-on-year, clothing fell by 0.3%, housing fell by 0.3%, prices of daily necessities and services fell by 0.1%, transportation and communications fell by 3.3%, education, culture and entertainment rose by 0.3%, and health care rose by 0.4%, Other supplies and services fell by 0.9%. In food, tobacco and alcohol prices, pork fell by 9.6%, grain rose by 1.5%, fresh fruits rose by 2.2%, and fresh vegetables rose by 6.9%. On a monthly basis, the national consumer prices in January and February fell by 0.3% and 0.2% year-on-year, respectively, and rose by 1.0% and 0.6% month-on-month .

  For January to February, the factory prices of industrial producers nationwide rose by 1.0% year-on-year. The purchasing prices of industrial producers nationwide increased by 1.6% year-on-year .

  In general, economic operations maintained a recovery growth in January and February, and positive factors continued to prevail. At the same time, we must also note that the new coronavirus pandemic is still spreading globally, the world economic situation is complex and severe; the imbalance in the domestic recovery process is still prominent, and the foundation for economic recovery is not yet solid


  ( 1 ) The two-year average growth rate refers to the growth rate calculated using the geometric average method based on the corresponding period in 2019 .

  ( 2 ) The growth rate of industrial value added and its classified items above designated size is calculated at comparable prices, which is the actual growth rate; other indicators are calculated at current prices and are nominal growth rates unless otherwise specified.

  ( 3 ) The statistical scope of industries above designated size is industrial enterprises with annual main business income of 20 million yuan and above.

  Due to the annual changes in the scope of industrial enterprises above designated size, in order to ensure that the data of this year is comparable with the previous year, the same period used to calculate the year-on-year growth rate of various indicators such as product output is as consistent as possible with the statistical scope of the current period. There are differences in the caliber of the published data. The main reasons: First, the scope of statistical units has changed. Every year, some enterprises reach the scale and are included in the scope of the investigation, and some enterprises withdraw from the scope of investigation due to their smaller scale. There are also impacts such as newly-built enterprises, bankruptcies, and cancellation (revocation) of enterprises. Second, the product output data of some enterprise groups (companies) has cross-regional repetitive statistics. According to a special survey, the cross-regional repetitive output of enterprise groups (companies) has been removed.

  ( 4 ) The service industry production index refers to the change in output of the service industry during the reporting period relative to the base period after excluding the price factor.

  ( 5 ) The statistical scope of the total retail sales of consumer goods covers legal person enterprises, industrial activity units and self-employed individuals engaged in retail activities or providing catering services. Among them, the units above designated size refer to wholesale enterprises (units) with annual main business income of 20 million yuan and above, retail enterprises (units) with 5 million yuan and above, and accommodation and catering enterprises with annual revenue of 2 million yuan and above ( unit).

  Since the scope of enterprises (units) in the wholesale and retail industry, accommodation and catering industry above designated size changes every year, in order to ensure that this year’s data is comparable with the previous year, the same period data used to calculate the year-on-year growth rate of various indicators such as the retail sales of consumer goods above designated size It is consistent with the scope of the statistics of enterprises (units) in this period, and there is a difference in caliber from the data published last year. The main reason is that every year, some enterprises (units) meet the quota standard and are included in the scope of investigation, and some enterprises (units) withdraw from the scope of investigation due to their smaller scale and fail to meet the quota standard. There are also newly opened enterprises, bankruptcies, and suspensions. The impact of marketing enterprises (units).

  Online retail sales refer to the sum of the retail sales of goods and services realized through public online trading platforms (including self-built websites and third-party platforms). Goods and services include physical goods and non-physical goods (such as virtual goods, service goods, etc.).

  The total retail sales of consumer goods includes the online retail sales of physical goods, but does not include the online retail sales of non-physical goods.

  In accordance with the regulations of the statistical law enforcement inspection and statistical investigation system, the fixed asset investment data for the same period of the previous year was revised, and the growth rate was calculated on a comparable basis.

  ( 7 ) Import and export data come from the General Administration of Customs; data on newly-increased urban employees come from the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security.

  ( 8 ) Employed persons refer to persons who are 16 years old and above, have the ability to work, and engage in certain social work in order to obtain labor remuneration or operating income.

  ( 9 ) Due to rounding of some data, the total and sub-item total may not be equal.