People dine at the Fushansuo Market in Shinan District of Qingdao, east China's Shandong Province, Aug. 7, 2023. (Xinhua/Li Ziheng)
BEIJING, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- China sustained its economic recovery momentum last month and made solid progress in high-quality development despite lingering downward pressures on the global economy.
Retail sales of consumer goods, which indicate the consumption strength, registered a stable 7.3 percent increase from a year ago in the first seven months, and the fixed-asset investment went up 3.4 percent, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said Tuesday.
The service sector remained vibrant as its production index gained 5.7 percent year on year in July, and the industrial output climbed 3.7 percent. The surveyed urban unemployment rate was 5.3 percent, lower than 5.4 percent a year earlier.
The Chinese economy continued the upward trend, with increases in both production and demand, stable employment and prices, and steady industrial upgrades, NBS spokesperson Fu Linghui told a press conference on Tuesday.
Consumption came as one of the bright spots last month. Services consumption logged a stellar 20.3 percent expansion in the January-July period, with robust summer vacation tourism. In July, the box office revenue surged 111 percent from the previous month, and new energy vehicle (NEV) sales jumped by over 30 percent year on year.
Industrial upgrades picked up pace and the innovation momentum has gathered steam. High-tech investment gained 11.5 percent year on year in the first seven months, and the funds for scientific research and technologies went up 23.1 percent. The production of NEVs and solar batteries rose 24.9 percent and 65.1 percent in July, respectively.
Speaking at Tuesday's press conference, the NBS spokesperson dismissed concerns over price changes in China. "There is no deflation for the Chinese economy."
Fu pointed out that consumer price growth will gradually return to a reasonable level and the price decline at the factory gate will further narrow, propelled by the positive trajectory of the broader economy.
Although economic indicators present a stable outlook, Fu emphasized the need for further efforts to reinforce the foundation of China's economic recovery amid a complex global environment and insufficient domestic demand.
Given challenges at home and abroad, China has rolled out an array of pro-growth measures in the past months.
A policy guideline was issued last month to address key concerns of private businesses, including fair competition and financing support. Consumer spending has been encouraged on a wide range of goods and services, including NEVs, home appliances, electronics, catering and tourism.
In the latest effort to bolster the economic recovery, the central bank on Tuesday cut the interest rates of the medium-term lending facility and reverse repos. Analysts believe that the move will help shore up credit demand and boost consumption and investment growth.
Looking ahead, Fu expressed optimism over China's economic outlook for the rest of the year as the external environment will likely improve and the country's effective policies, such as measures to expedite infrastructure construction, support the private economy and enhance the structure of foreign trade, will boost the internal driving forces.
"Despite pressures and challenges, we have many favorable conditions for the sustained economic recovery and high-quality development," Fu said. "The economy will maintain stable performance in the second half with better development quality."