World output growth is projected to decelerate from an estimated 3.0 percent in 2022 to 1.9 percent in 2023, while China's economic growth is forecast to accelerate to 4.8 percent this year, according to a UN report launched on Wednesday.
Amid high inflation, aggressive monetary tightening and heightened uncertainties, the current global downturn has slowed the pace of economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, threatening several countries -- both developed and developing -- with the prospects of recession in 2023, the UN World Economic Situation and Prospects 2023 report said.
For instance, the GDP of the US is expected to expand only 0.4 percent in 2023, after an estimated growth of 1.8 percent in 2022, the report said.
Growth in China is projected to moderately improve in 2023. Thanks to the government's adjustment of its COVID policy in late 2022 and the easing of monetary and fiscal policies, China's economic growth is forecast to accelerate to 4.8 percent in 2023, according to the report.
In addition to the UN, a number of global institutions also raised their China growth forecasts as the country's economic activity quickly rebounded in the new year from the severe epidemic situation in the last month of 2022.
According to the latest World Bank report, China's economy will grow by 4.3 percent in 2023, compared with 2.7 percent growth of its previous estimate for China.
"If the impact of widespread infections nationwide on GDP growth is limited in the first quarter, it is possible that 2023 growth could reach 6 percent," G. Bin Zhao, senior economist at PwC China, said in a note sent to the Global Times earlier.
"After China's adjustment and optimization of its epidemic prevention policy, its economic activity gradually recovered. I have full confidence in national economic development in 2023, with the current forecast of the economic growth reaching 5 percent," He Weiwen, a senior fellow at the Center for China and Globalization, told the Global Times, adding that expanding consumption is the top priority this year.
Statistics from travel to the box office during the Spring Festival holidays are strong evidence of these agencies and economists' forecasts, demonstrating the strong resilience of the country's economic development.
Data from the Ministry of Transport showed that on Wednesday, more than 35.3 million trips have been made via railway, roads, waterways and air, an increase of 73 percent over the 2022 levels.
China's box office for the 2023 Spring Festival holidays exceeded 5.5 billion yuan ($810 million) as of Thursday afternoon, with Full River Red taking the lead with a box office of more than 2 billion yuan. China's ticketing platform Maoyan said that the number of moviegoers during the seven-day holidays exceeded 100 million for the fifth consecutive year.
According to a report sent to the Global Times on Wednesday, Trip.com said that in the first four days of the Chinese New Year, bookings for hotels, B&Bs and tickets have surpassed the same period in 2019.
Tian Yun, a veteran economist, told the Global Times on Thursday that in the first two months, especially during the Spring Festival holidays, China's consumption growth will eye an obvious recovery, probably rebounding to about 5 percent growth year-on-year.
The consumption fever has also stimulated outbound trips. According to Trip.com, outbound flight bookings by mainland tourists increased more than four times year-on-year, with Hong Kong and Macao among the top two popular outbound destinations.
Macao received 71,678 arrivals on the second day of the Chinese New Year, the highest number of arrivals recorded in a single day since the outbreak in 2019, according to data released by the Macao government on Tuesday.
Hong Kong also eyed a rapid rebound in tourism and consumption since the country optimized its outbound restrictions.
The South China Morning Post reported on Thursday that nearly 80,000 people participated in a horse racing event held in Sha Tin on Tuesday. The Jockey Club reports a betting turnover of HK$2.06 billion ($265 million), the biggest since a pre-handover meeting in June 1997.
Experts noted that China's strong consumption power will also boost the tourism sector of other countries.
The Maldives has welcomed the first flight of Chinese tourists since the pandemic and is expecting that the government's tourism target will increase by 10 percent in 2023 with the resumption of tourist arrivals from China to the archipelagic state.