China's GDP grew by around 5.2% without excessive stimulus, says Prime Minister


Chinese Premier Li Qiang said on Tuesday that China's GDP was about 5.2% last year, confirming the forecast of economists polled by Bloomberg and Portal. He is at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

According to Li, “China's economy recovered and grew at an estimated growth rate of about 5.2% in 2023, above the target of about 5% set early last year.” The official data will be released in Beijing on Wednesday morning.

“We do not seek shortterm growth by accumulating longterm risks,” he said, emphasizing that Beijing has chosen not to provide “massive stimulus.” Data provided by Li shows an increase from the 4.9% annualized percentage recorded in the third quarter.

Addressing an audience of business people, Li said China will continue to open its economy to foreign investment. “The decision to invest in the Chinese market is not a risk but an opportunity,” he said. “We will take steps to address legitimate concerns from the global business community.”

Attention now turns to 2024. A report from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences forecasts growth of 5.3% and a stable economy that starts the year slower and gains strength as the year progresses. In 2022, growth was 3% under the impact of Covid19 restrictions.

For its part, the World Bank forecast Chinese growth of 4.5% in 2024, and the Portal poll of economists put it at 4.6%. The National People's Congress, China's annual legislature, is expected to reset a target of around 5% in March and prescribe measures to ensure compliance.

As was the case last year, there have already been calls for stronger government economic stimulus, aiming for growth of over 5% this year. One of the arguments put forward is that the country will no longer have the low comparison base of 2022, as it is still affected by the restrictions that made the good result possible in 2023.

Like other financial institutions, the American Citigroup, for example, assessed in a statement that China's recovery from the pandemic remained fragile at the end of 2023 and that “the implementation of the guidelines” was questionable [de estímulo por Pequim] could be the most important thing to keep an eye on in the coming months.”