Update: China’s expanding logistics sector indicates steady economy

Update: China’s expanding logistics sector indicates steady economy

This aerial photo taken on Oct. 9, 2023 shows a freight train running along the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor, in south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. (Xinhua/Zhang Ailin)

BEIJING, Dec. 4 (Xinhua) — China’s logistics sector registered faster expansion in November, official data showed Monday, as the latest evidence of a steady economic recovery powered by domestic demand.

The index tracking the country’s logistics market performance stood at 53.3 percent last month, up 0.4 percentage points from October, according to the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing (CFLP).

A reading above 50 indicates expansion, while a reading below reflects contraction.

CFLP chief economist He Hui said the sector reported improving vitality in November as the new demand maintained an upward trend and businesses held stable expectations for future growth.

In the breakdown, the sub-indexes measuring total business volume and new orders of logistics companies went up to 53.3 percent and 53.4 percent, respectively, and that of business expectations remained well above 55 percent.

Fixed-asset investment in the logistics sector logged stable growth, with its sub-index up by 0.5 percentage points, driven by robust increases in railway and multimodal transport and the postal industry. There was also a rising labor demand in major companies as the employment sub-index gained 1.3 percentage points.

Despite a relatively weak market this year, the headline index in the recent three months posted better performance than that in the first half and the last year’s same period, reflecting further improved logistics activity and a more solid positive trend, said Hu Han, an analyst with the China Logistics Information Center.

The vibrant logistics sector points to warming domestic demand and sustained economic recovery.

Stable industrial production and improving consumption since the beginning of the year have generated more transport demand in a wide range of sectors throughout the supply chain, including fast-moving consumer goods, electric machines, and automobiles, analysts said.

China’s express courier firms handled 105.17 billion parcels in the first ten months, up 17 percent compared with a year earlier, according to the State Post Bureau.

Booming online sales, which topped 12.3 trillion yuan (1.73 trillion U.S. dollars) in the January-October period, in particular boosted the logistics expansion.

Driven by the annual “Double 11” online shopping spree, about 7.51 billion packages were sent across the country from Nov. 1 to 16, representing 30.9 percent growth year on year. Companies in the sector added couriers, extended working hours, and deployed more automated facilities to meet demand.

Looking ahead, the robust trend of the logistics sector is expected to consolidate at the end of the year.

Government policies will continue to stabilize expectations, build up confidence and stimulate investment, which will support a stable economic recovery and support the logistics sector, Hu said. 

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