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China's holiday spending boom masks patchy recovery

Weaknesses in areas such as manufacturing and real estate worry analysts

People visit the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall in Beijing on April 30 during the five-day Labor Day holiday.   © Reuters

Hundreds of millions of travelers swarmed China's tourist hot spots during the Labor Day holiday, painting a rosy picture of a rebound in the closely watched gauge of consumer spending. But the latest economic data is patchy and has analysts worried that lingering weaknesses in areas such as manufacturing and real estate are holding back a full recovery.

During the five-day break -- the first normal holiday for many people after three years of strict COVID controls -- around 270 million domestic trips were made by car, rail, airplane and waterways from April 29 through May 3, with the daily average up 163% from last year, according the Ministry of Transport. Railway and airplane trips exceeded 2019 pre-pandemic levels by 22.1% and 4.2% respectively, according to the ministry.

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