China's Q1 GDP Growth Set to Slow to 4.6%, Keeps Pressure for More Stimulus

A pedestrian walks on an overpass past car traffic in Beijing, China January 12, 2024. REUTERS/Florence Lo/File Photo
A pedestrian walks on an overpass past car traffic in Beijing, China January 12, 2024. REUTERS/Florence Lo/File Photo
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China's Q1 GDP Growth Set to Slow to 4.6%, Keeps Pressure for More Stimulus

A pedestrian walks on an overpass past car traffic in Beijing, China January 12, 2024. REUTERS/Florence Lo/File Photo
A pedestrian walks on an overpass past car traffic in Beijing, China January 12, 2024. REUTERS/Florence Lo/File Photo

China's economy likely grew 4.6% in the first quarter from a year earlier - the slowest in a year despite tentative signs of steadying, a Reuters poll showed on Thursday, maintaining pressure on policymakers to unveil more stimulus measures.

Gross domestic product (GDP) in the world's second-biggest economy is also expected to grow at a subdued 4.6% pace in 2024 year-on-year, according to the median forecast of 86 economists polled by Reuters, falling short of the official target of

The first-quarter growth forecast compares to 5.2% in the previous three months and is the lowest since the January-March quarter in 2023, underlining the strains in the economy despite stronger than expected January-February data on factory output and retail sales, as well as exports.

Analysts expected growth to pick up to 5.0% in the second quarter, but policymakers have their work cut out in trying to shore up confidence and demand.

China's economy has struggled to mount a strong and sustainable a post-COVID bounce, burdened by a protracted property downturn, mounting local government debts and weak private-sector spending.

The government has unveiled fiscal and monetary policy measures in a bid to achieve what analysts have described as an ambitious 2024 GDP growth target, noting that last year's growth rate of 5.2% was likely flattered by a comparison with a COVID-hit 2022.

"The economy has yet to recover," Ting Lu, chief China economist at Nomura, said in a note. "The property sector is still on the decline, the risk of another fiscal cliff is on the rise, geopolitical challenges are likely to sustain, and growth might face downward pressure again over the next few months."

Fitch cut its outlook on China's sovereign credit rating to negative on Wednesday, citing risks to public finances as Beijing channels more spending towards infrastructure and high-tech manufacturing, amid a shift away from the property sector.

China's consumer inflation cooled more than expected in March, while producer price deflation persisted, suggesting policymakers may need to launch more stimulus to spur demand.

On a quarterly basis, the economy is forecast to expand 1.4% in the first quarter, quickening from 1.0% in October-December, the poll showed.

The government is due to release first quarter GDP data, along with March activity data, at 0200 GMT on April 16.



GACA Authorizes ITA Airlines to Operate Regular Flights Between Saudi Arabia and Italy

GACA Authorizes ITA Airlines to Operate Regular Flights Between Saudi Arabia and Italy
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GACA Authorizes ITA Airlines to Operate Regular Flights Between Saudi Arabia and Italy

GACA Authorizes ITA Airlines to Operate Regular Flights Between Saudi Arabia and Italy

Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) announced on Tuesday that Italian Airlines (ITA) will begin regular passenger flights between the Kingdom and Italy.

The flights will operate from Rome to Riyadh during the summer season of 2024, with five flights per week starting from June 2.

This initiative is part of GACA's efforts to improve air connectivity and link the Kingdom to the global network, which aligns with the objectives of Saudi Vision 2030.

The goal is not just to establish the Kingdom as a global logistics hub, but also to open up a world of travel opportunities, expanding horizons in alignment with the National Aviation Strategy.