Chinese economy grew by 4.8% in the first quarter of the year, according to the data released by the National Bureau of Statistics on Monday.
The world’s second-largest economy recorded a 9.3% year-on-year increase in fixed-asset investment in the quarter, higher than the 8.5% growth predicted by experts. Investment in the manufacturing sector expanded by 15.6% in the first quarter from a year ago while infrastructure grew by 8.5% over the same period.
The country’s industrial production increased by 5% in the month of March, better than the 4.5% projected before the release.
However, China’s retail sales dipped by 3.5% from a year earlier. More than a 1.6% decline predicted by analysts polled by Reuters.
At the beginning of March, China struggled to curb its worst Covid outbreak since the initial phase of the pandemic in 2020. Back then, lockdowns across more than half the country resulted in a 6.8% contraction in first quarter growth from a year earlier.
“We must be aware that with the domestic and international environment becoming increasingly complicated and uncertain, the economic development is facing significant difficulties and challenges,” the bureau said in a statement.
The unemployment rate across 31 major Chinese cities rose from 5.4% in February to 6% in March — the highest on record according to official data going back to 2018.
“This indicates the unemployment problem in the large cities has become more severe than when the Covid Pandemic started in 2020,” said Zhiwei Zhang, chief economist at Pinpoint Asset Management.
Nigeria’s Untapped Coffee Sector Holds the Key to $2 Billion Annual Revenue
Amidst declining foreign reserves and the need for alternative revenue streams, Nigeria’s overlooked coffee industry emerges as a potential powerhouse capable of contributing over $2 billion annually to foreign exchange earnings.
Industry experts emphasize the necessity for strategic investments and modernized farming practices to unlock the full economic potential of the coffee sector.
While Nigeria is not among the top 10 coffee producers in Africa, the country’s untapped coffee industry holds the promise of significant financial gains, job creation, and sustainable agricultural development.
The urgency for revitalization comes as Nigeria grapples with a decline in foreign reserves, dropping from $38.25 billion in September 2022 to $33.23 billion in the third quarter of 2023.
Salihu Imam, Chairman of the National Coffee and Tea Association of Nigeria, Oyo State, highlighted the global significance of coffee, stating, “Coffee is the second most traded/valuable of all commodities and first in Agricultural commodities in the world.”
The potential economic impact extends beyond immediate financial gains, with Nigeria positioning itself as a key player in the global coffee trade.
Despite its potential, Nigeria’s coffee exports remain modest, producing less than one million bags annually.
In contrast, Ethiopia, the largest coffee exporter in Africa, is projected to produce 8.25 million bags. Experts suggest that Nigeria, with its unique coffee varieties, could generate $2 billion annually.
Segun Lary-Lean, President of the West Africa Specialty Coffee Association, emphasized the robust global demand for coffee, comparing it to water in Western countries.
He noted the significant earnings of coffee-producing nations like Brazil, Colombia, Vietnam, and Kenya, which experienced a 17% increase in coffee earnings.
In a call to action, industry players urge the Federal Government to prioritize strategic investments, modernized farming practices, and value-added processing to harness the coffee sector’s full economic benefits.
Unlocking the potential of Nigeria’s coffee industry stands not only as a financial opportunity but as a catalyst for broader economic growth and diversification.
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