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China’s economy showed signs of recovery in the first two months of the year, with consumer spending rising after Covid restrictions were lifted.

Retail sales grew 3.5 per cent year-on-year in the first two months of the year, compared to declines in both December and November.

Consumption remained weak throughout China’s three-year zero-Covid regime, which was abruptly unwound in December.

Other data for the period, when the virus spread widely in China, was mixed. Industrial output added 2.4 per cent, but fixed-asset investment rose 5.5 per cent. Unemployment was slightly higher at 5.6 per cent.

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