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China G.D.P. Data Is Unexpectedly Released After Delay

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After a six-day delay at the Chinese Communist Party’s national convention, data released Monday showed that China’s economy has begun to show faint signs of recovery in the past three months after stalling earlier this year.

The country’s economic output from July to September was 3.9% higher than the same month last year. The modest recovery in economic activity has outpaced Western economists’ expectations of growth, which he estimated at just over 3%.

However, the composition of growth was not quite in line with what the Chinese leaders were looking for. While consumer spending has started to recover after the COVID-19 lockdown in Shanghai in April and May, China is still building roads, bridges, railways and other infrastructure fueled by state-led debt. depends heavily on the construction of

The slowing pace of China’s economic recovery reflects, in part, the ruling Communist Party’s efforts to expand its influence over the economy and society. China’s supreme leader, Xi Jinping, consolidated power over the weekend by ousting his rival. Among them was current premier Li Keqiang, who in May called an emergency meeting of more than 100,000 officials to sound the alarm about the need to boost economic growth.

By contrast, party leader Mr. Xi emphasizes social stability and national security, which often has the effect of slowing economic growth and jobs. In his speech at the opening ceremony of the Communist Party Congress about a week ago, Xi mentioned security six times more often than the economy.

“We have implemented the holistic concept of national security and defended national sovereignty, security and development interests with firm determination and quality,” he said.

Shares fell more than 4% in early trading in Hong Kong on Monday and nearly 2% on the mainland stock exchange. Xi Jinping has pushed a vision of “common prosperity,” a vague campaign to redistribute wealth that has investors uneasy.

In Congress, President Xi spoke about ensuring that income accrues to those who work for it. This is an unspoken denunciation of those who earn their living through trade and investment.

Under Xi, regulators have cracked down on the tech sector, and layoffs of younger employees are widespread. Dozens of national private property developers defaulted after Beijing discouraged property speculation. The big guys have fled the country. Municipal lockdowns to contain the Covid-19 outbreak have taken a heavy toll.

Yeelin Tan, a political scientist at the University of Oregon, said Mr. Xi seemed more preoccupied with stability than growth. “Economic growth is embedded within the broader narrative of national strength and security,” she said.

The release of economic data last week, which was withheld without explanation, came as a surprise. It is rare for a major power to delay the release of such an important economic report.

Better-than-expected data suggest the government’s motivation for delaying the release was to avoid last week’s news that could distract the party convention. said it had jeopardized international confidence in its credibility.

“A dark cloud of political doubt will undermine China’s official data for years to come,” said Yale University economist Stephen S. Roach.

The National Bureau of Statistics did not hold its usual quarterly press conferences to discuss the country’s economic performance that usually accompanies the data. Also, the Bureau’s data release was not accompanied by the usual series of written statements from agency spokesmen to present the government’s interpretation of the data.

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China’s General Administration of Customs also released trade data for September on Monday morning after it was delayed by 10 days. The data show that exports continue to perform well and the trade surplus is widening sharply as imports are little changed.

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