China News Agency, Beijing, February 9th: Can the "Spring Offensive" help China's economy achieve a "good start"?

  China News Agency reporter Wang Enbo

  During the Spring Festival, consumption is blooming in many places, major projects are being launched, and the vitality of market entities is recovering. Just starting in 2023, there will be an upsurge of "fighting the economy" across China.

The spring of the new year has arrived. Can the "spring offensive" launched by various places help China's economy achieve a "good start"?

Which of these highlights are worthy of attention?

China News Agency "China Focus Face to Face" recently invited Su Jian, director of the National Economic Research Center of Peking University, and Yang Daoling, director and researcher of the Big Data Analysis Division of the Big Data Development Department of the National Information Center, to have a dialogue and interpret this.

An excerpt from the interview is as follows:

China News Agency reporter: This year's Spring Festival, consumer markets in various places are blooming. Which highlights are most worthy of attention from big data?

Yang Daoling:

Since the beginning of this year, the central and local governments have launched a number of measures around expanding consumption and increasing investment, releasing positive signals to promote a steady economic recovery.

All regions are actively building platforms to promote consumption, improving consumption conditions, and innovating consumption scenarios.

Especially during the Spring Festival, a variety of consumption promotion activities were carried out in various places, which effectively stimulated the rapid recovery of consumption.

Our monitoring of multiple high-frequency data shows that current consumption is picking up rapidly.

  From the perspective of offline consumption, the consumption heat index of offline business districts, which we constructed based on the daily traffic data of 232 representative business districts across the country provided by Daily Interactive, shows that the index has remained above 100 for several consecutive days since January. High, an average increase of 15.5 points compared with December last year, and a steady upward trend, indicating the rapid recovery of offline consumption.

  In terms of industries, the popularity of life service consumption has risen rapidly, and the effect of the Spring Festival boost is obvious.

The life service consumption heat index constructed based on the order data of life service merchants shows that since January, the life service consumption heat has continued to rise. As of the end of January, the index has reached 126.4, an increase of 31.3 points from the end of last year.

Among them, the catering, leisure and entertainment industries grew rapidly, and the index increased by 24.5 and 53.4 points respectively compared with the end of last year.

Especially during the Spring Festival, tourism consumption and travel vitality accelerated, and tourist attractions reproduced the lively scene of "crowds of people".

According to data from the Meituan platform, consumption in other places during the Spring Festival increased by 76% compared with the same period last year.

  With the effective implementation of various policies to stabilize growth, it is believed that consumption will recover better this year, providing a strong impetus for expanding domestic demand and promoting high-quality economic development.

Data map: The old streets of Kunming, Yunnan are decorated with lanterns and festoons, full of strong New Year flavor.

Photo by China News Agency reporter Liu Ranyang

China News Agency reporter: Judging from the data, consumption in various places is currently picking up rapidly.

How to predict the prospect of consumption recovery this year?

Su Jian:

China's consumption recovery should be very fast this year, especially in the first quarter.

In the same period last year, consumption was affected by the epidemic, and "retaliatory consumption" is expected to appear this year. Just look at the (hotness) of major tourist attractions in China during the Spring Festival.

  Last year, China adopted a package of policies and follow-up measures to stabilize the economy, but due to the impact of the epidemic, some of the policy effects have not been fully realized.

With the further effects of these measures this year, coupled with some measures to expand consumption and promote investment that will be launched this year, I think China's economy will recover fairly well this year.

China News Agency reporter: Since the beginning of the year, many major projects have been intensively started, and what does the hot start of local expansion and investment mean for the annual economy?

Yang Daoling:

Judging from the information released about the two sessions of local governments, many places emphasize the need to expand effective investment and accelerate the start of construction of major projects. The growth target of fixed asset investment is concentrated at 6%-12%, which is generally higher than the GDP growth target of various regions.

According to our analysis of the national project bid winning data of Jianyu Biaoxun platform, the year-on-year growth rate of national project bids in January 2023 reached a relatively high level of 32.2%.

From a geographical point of view, the number of scalar projects in 9 provinces increased by more than 50% year-on-year.

The central region has the highest year-on-year growth rate, reaching 45.7%.

From the perspective of the main fields of engineering project construction, the number of scalars won in the fields of transportation, energy and chemical industry, water conservancy and hydropower increased by more than 25% year-on-year.

  This shows that various regions are intensively promoting the implementation of major projects, and the policy effect of expanding effective investment will continue to appear.

It is believed that under the continuous promotion of central and local policies, the investment field will maintain steady growth this year and play a more critical role in stabilizing the market and promoting growth.

Data map.

Photo by Li Heping

China News Agency reporter: Stable investment means stable growth. Where is the potential and space for expanding investment this year?

Su Jian:

The expansion of investment this year should first be in infrastructure.

To activate the economy, the government needs to ignite the "fire", and the "ignition point" is infrastructure investment.

Therefore, from the central government to the local government, the role of fiscal policy in stimulating investment will be a very important starting point for China's economic recovery.

Including transportation, energy, water conservancy, and hydropower, these are what the government can and needs to do.

Although a lot of infrastructure construction in China has made great progress, it is still not enough. In this regard, we can continue to do some investment projects, especially for its digital empowerment and new infrastructure construction.

  After the starting point of infrastructure construction is started, the next thing that should be started is real estate investment.

Real estate investment is mainly private, including private enterprises and private housing investment, which is also a key to the rapid recovery of the Chinese economy.

Data map: A real estate in Huishan District, Wuxi City.

Photo by Sun Quan

China News Agency reporter: With the optimization and adjustment of the epidemic prevention and control policy at the end of last year, what positive changes have been made in the vitality of enterprises in various places?

Can this momentum continue this year?

Yang Daoling:

As the current round of the epidemic draws to a close, the impact of the epidemic on the operation of enterprises has significantly weakened. At present, the vitality of the market has accelerated and the confidence of enterprises has increased significantly.

Through the analysis of the traffic data around 100 representative incubators across the country, it is found that the average traffic flow in January increased by 17.6% compared with December last year, and increased by 8.5% compared with the same period last year, which shows the business vitality of a group of enterprises with the most active innovation and entrepreneurship There is a clear trend of recovery.

  The business vitality index of the life service industry based on the start of business of life service merchants shows that the index rose to 103.2 at the end of January, an increase of nearly 11 points from the previous month.

Among them, the business vitality index of the accommodation industry and the tourism industry increased rapidly, increasing by 35.2 and 41.9 points respectively from the previous month.

  By analyzing the on-job rate indicators of 80 large and medium-sized cities across the country, we can see that with the accelerated resumption of work and production in various places after the holiday, the on-job rate at the end of January has increased by 14.3 percentage points compared with the low point during the epidemic in December last year.

  These data show that the policies and measures to help enterprises in various places are taking effect. More and more enterprises are also seizing the peak consumption season and starting business one after another. The vitality of enterprises has rebounded significantly.

In the future, as demand accelerates and expectations are further boosted, business vitality will continue to improve.

The picture shows Yang Daoling.

Photo by China News Agency reporter Tian Yuhao

China News Agency reporter: This year's two sessions in many places in China have emphasized improving the business environment. How to further boost market confidence in the future?

Su Jian:

There is a causal relationship between improving the business environment and boosting confidence.

The position of China's private enterprises in the economy is very important, and this confidence is mainly the confidence of private enterprises.

If private enterprises lack confidence, it will be a disadvantageous factor for the Chinese economy no matter in terms of investment, operation or employment.

In other words, to make the economy vibrant, it is necessary to make private enterprises vibrant.

To make private enterprises active, they must provide a good business environment and guarantee their intellectual property rights, general property rights, etc.

Under such circumstances, we must strengthen the rule of law, use the form of law to maintain the normal operation of the market economy, protect the property rights of everyone, including entrepreneurs, and provide them with a stable and predictable business environment.

This is an important prerequisite for maintaining the vitality of the enterprise.

The picture shows Su Jian.

Photo by China News Agency reporter Tian Yuhao

China News Agency reporter: Judging from the situation of the two sessions in various places, 29 of the 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities have set their economic growth target for this year at around 5% or even higher.

What are the considerations?

Su Jian:

This also reflects the national growth target.

We have actually seen some clues from the local government's growth target. Basically, everyone has set it above 5%, and the highest set in Hainan has reached 9.5%.

According to the target growth rate of each province, municipality, and autonomous region, and its proportion in China's economy, we calculated that the growth target for this year between 5.5% and 6.0% should be achievable.

The situation this year is very similar to 2021, with a relatively low base in the previous year.

In this case, the low base effect will provide very good support for economic growth this year.

  At the same time, the quality of development will also improve.

In the past three years, a group of companies with stronger risk prevention capabilities and more marketable products have also been screened out.

Next, the ability of China's economy to resist risks should further increase.

A very important aspect of the quality of economic operation is risk prevention, so I think the quality of China's economic growth will improve this year.

Data map: Tianjin Port.

Photo courtesy of Tianjin Port Group

China News Agency reporter: What kind of impetus will this year's national economic growth bring to the economic "spring offensive" in various places?

Is it possible to expect a "good start" for China's economy this year?

Yang Daoling:

The Central Economic Work Conference proposed that in 2023, we must insist on stability and make progress while maintaining stability.

By reviewing the reports of the local two sessions, it can be seen that all localities resolutely implement the spirit of the Central Economic Work Conference, focus on stabilizing the economy, focus on promoting development, and combine their own characteristics to expand investment, boost consumption, stabilize foreign trade, help enterprises, and promote innovation. A series of new measures have greatly stabilized market expectations and boosted confidence in development.

While promulgating policies, all localities have also taken action as early as possible to rush to start construction, promote construction, promote consumption, and support enterprises, and through a series of "combined punches" to promote the implementation of policies to bear fruit.

A series of high-frequency data also fully demonstrate that China's economy is full of vitality and surging momentum. With the continuous release of policy dividends, a number of indicators have shown a positive momentum of accelerated recovery. In 2023, China's economy is expected to achieve a good start.

Su Jian:

During the Spring Festival, we have seen that China's economy is very dynamic and resilient.

A good start in the first quarter is very important for the whole year, especially now that the Chinese economy needs to stabilize confidence. The sooner confidence is stabilized, the faster the economy will recover.

In the first half of the year, various places began to "fight the economy", various projects began to be implemented, and a large number of measures were taken to promote consumption. These are very important for the recovery of the real economy in the first quarter.

Stabilize expectations and confidence earlier, so that all parties have more confidence in the economic operation in the remaining three quarters of this year, and everyone will be willing to invest more and consume more, so that the economy will maintain a good momentum throughout the year.