Belfast Telegraph

New data shows economy of People's Republic is improving

By David Elliott

A raft of positive data has proved China's economy is getting itself back on track.

Retail sales, fixed asset investment and industrial production climbed by more than expected in October while the inflation rate fell, countering worries from some economists that the world's biggest economy was slowing further. Sentiment has been further bolstered by news from the head of the country's economic planning agency who told Reuters that GDP growth would exceed 7.5% in 2012.

Zhang Ping, head of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), said: "Signs of stabilisation in the economy were getting more obvious in October. We are fully confident that we can achieve the economic growth target for this year. In other words, we are able to maintain economic growth of above 7.5%," he said.

That compares to current UK growth of 1% and a slight contraction in the Northern Ireland economy in 2012 and highlights why companies from the UK - and in particular Northern Ireland - are concentrating their export efforts on the region.

In 2011 alone it imported £1trn worth of goods and services, mostly from Japan, South Korea, US, Germany and Australia, according to the CIA World Factbook.

As an export destination China ranks ninth in the list of export destinations for UK goods and services with only £7,000m accounted for in 2011 and far behind the US which took £31,000m worth.

Keyt facts on China

China's population is 1.37 billion.

China is the second largest economy in the world in nominal US dollar terms.

Over the last 30 years, China has experienced uninterrupted growth averaging 10% per annum.

China became the world's largest goods exporter, ahead of Germany and the US.

China is the world's second largest goods importer.

There are currently around 220 million migrant workers in China.