China's economy grew 3.2% in the second quarter from the year before, rebounding sharply from a first-quarter plunge of 6.8%, the National Bureau of Statistics said Thursday.
The latest quarter's growth, which beat market expectations of 2.4%, makes China "the first major economy to emerge from the ravages of COVID-19," Aidan Yao, Hong Kong-based senior emerging Asia economist with AXA Investment Managers, said in an email.
Even so, weak retail sales numbers prompted investors Thursday to take profits after a rally of more than 15% for Shanghai and Shenzhen-listed A-shares since the end of June.
Total retail sales of consumer goods for the first half of the year were down 11.4% year-on-year, but off only 3.9% for the second quarter and 1.8% for the month of June.
The latest data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed China's "V-shaped economic recovery" continuing for a fourth consecutive month, "led by strong domestic demand," said Andy Rothman, San Francisco-based investment strategist with money manager Matthews Asia, in an email.
"If COVID-19 remains under control," he said, "China can remain the world's best consumer story."