China's economy grows 2.3% in 2020 as recovery quickens

Posted January 17, 2021 9:29 p.m. EST

— China's economy grew more than expected last year, even as the rest of the world was upended by the coronavirus pandemic.

The world's second largest economy expanded 2.3% in 2020 compared to a year earlier, according to government statistics released Monday.

It's China's slowest annual growth rate in decades — not since 1976 has the country had a worse year, when GDP shrunk 1.6% during a time of social and economic tumult.

But during a year when a crippling pandemic plunged major world economies into recession, China has clearly come out on top. The expansion also beat expectations: The International Monetary Fund, for example, predicted that China's economy would grow 1.9% in 2020. It's the only major world economy the IMF expected to grow at all.

The pace of the recovery is also accelerating. China's economy grew 6.5% in the fourth quarter compared to a year earlier, according to the government. That's faster than the 4.9% growth recorded in the third quarter.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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