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Chinese Economy Rebounds from Early Coronavirus Pandemic Pall

People wearing face masks to protect against the coronavirus ride an escalator at a shopping and office complex in Beijing, July 16, 2020.

China says it’s economy grew 2.3% in 2020, recovering from the novel coronavirus pandemic that brought the global economy to a screeching halt.

The world’s second-largest economy was boosted by a 6.5% increase in the fourth and final quarter of the year, according to data released Monday by the government’s statistics bureau, up sharply from the 4.9% increase in the previous quarter. Analysts attribute the rise to a continuing demand for Chinese-made products, such as face masks and other protective items and electronics.

Industrial output rose 7.3% in December from a year earlier.

The final numbers indicate China is the only nation in the world to avoid contraction last year as it dealt with the rapid spread of COVID-19, which was first detected in the central city of Wuhan in late 2019. But it was China’s weakest economic year since 1976 when the decade-long Cultural Revolution was coming to a disastrous end.

China’s economic rebound is all the more remarkable considering it had shut down all social and economic activity in an effort to contain the virus, which led to a steep 6.8% decline in the first months of 2020.