Consumption contributes higher portion of China GDP growth in first quarter

BEIJING (Reuters) - Final consumption contributed a larger share of China’s economic growth in the first quarter of 2016 than it did in 2015, according to an article in the official People’s Daily on Monday.

A customer chooses products at a supermarket in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province, China, October 19, 2015 REUTERS/China Daily

Final consumption accounted for 84.7 percent of growth in gross domestic product (GDP) in January-April, the article said without citing the source of the data.

Investment contributed 35.8 percent of growth, while net exports were a drag on growth at -20.5 percent.

The article said consumption’s first quarter contribution was 22 percentage points higher than that for the year-ago period, indicating a significant increase in consumption’s role in driving China’s economy.

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) republished the People’s Daily article on its website, indicating the data is likely from official sources.

Consumption contributed 66.4 percent to GDP growth for all of 2015.

First-quarter data is often higher than the full-year breakdown as trade and investment slow down due to the long Lunar New Year holidays early each year, while consumer spending and services increase.

The composition of China’s GDP growth is closely watched by analysts looking for evidence of economic restructuring, but its release has been unreliable of late.

The breakdown was not released with first-quarter GDP in April, and first-quarter 2015 growth contribution data was not announced.

China’s economic slowdown in recent years has caused jitters in world markets at a time when the government wants to reduce a reliance on traditional growth drivers such as industry, investment and exports and boost the contribution from services and consumers.

Reporting by Elias Glenn and Beijing monitoring desk; Editing by Kim Coghill