CHINA - BEIJING. China's consumer market recovery was "strong" in January, the commerce ministry said on Thursday, in one of its first optimistic assessments of consumption, which until this year had been reined in by a weak economy and tough COVID-19 policies.
Reviving consumer demand quickly is critical for an economic recovery this year as the country's exports stagger amid weakening global demand and the ailing property market struggles to get back on its feet.
China's 3% economic growth rate last year was one of its weakest rates in nearly half a century，hurt by harsh COVID-19 curbs that were abruptly lifted in December.
"From the consumption situation in January, the momentum of recovery in China's consumer market was relatively strong," said the ministry's spokesperson Shu Jueting, adding the government will take more measures to revive and expand consumption.
The world's second-biggest economy showed some signs of a rebound in January with rises in factory and services activities, and ratings agency Fitch raised its forecast for China's economic growth.
"A recovery in China's economy this year looks certain, but the nature and speed of that recovery remain in doubt," Iris Pang, Chief Economist of Greater China at ING, said in a research note on Thursday.