For more than four decades, China has never recognized that its economy has actually shrunk, even during major economic crises. But that could change Friday, when the country announces its gross domestic product for the quarter from January to March.
The National Bureau of Statistics of China already confirmed last month that national industrial production, retail sales and investment had all registered record double-digit declines in the first two months of this year compared to the same. period of 2019. This prompted most, but not all, economists to guess that overall economic performance for the first quarter of this year will show a decline from the previous year.
The question is, how big will the drop be?
A survey of 18 Chinese and foreign institutions by Caixin, a Chinese news agency, revealed that they expected the economy to stabilize at 11.5% in the first quarter. The average forecast was 6.6%.
A larger Reuters survey of 57 analysts found an even wider range of forecasts – ranging from a 28.9% dive to a 4% gain. But the Reuters survey average, a loss of 6.5%, was almost identical to that of Caixin.
Foreign banks, which face only slightly less political pressure than Chinese institutions to issue sunny forecasts, tend to be at the lower end of the range.
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The reports were provided by Michael M. Grynbaum, Alexandra Stevenson, Davey Alba, Neil Irwin, Nelson D. Schwartz, Liz Alderman, Alan Rappeport, Kate Kelly, Keith Bradsher, Niraj Chokshi, Caitlin Dickerson, Miriam Jordan, Jim Tankersley, Stacey Cowley, Emily Cochrane, Emily Flitter, Reed Abelson, Sapna Maheshwari, Ben Casselman, Noam Scheiber, Genève Abdul, Mohammed Hadi, Carlos Tejada and Mike Ives.