The World Bank has raised its forecast of China’s economic growth this year to 8.5 per cent. This is an improvement on the bank’s earlier projection of 8.1 per cent. The global banker also said Tuesday that a full recovery of the country requires progress in vaccinations against the coronavirus.

The report adds to positive signs for China, the first major economy to rebound from the pandemic. Factory and consumer activity are back above pre-outbreak levels, though authorities have re-imposed travel controls in some areas to counter outbreaks of new variants of the virus.

Chinese economic growth is likely to decline to 5.4 per cent next year as the rebound from last year’s history-making global slump fades and activity returns to normal, the World Bank said.

Its forecast was an increase over a report in April that said China and Vietnam were the only East Asian economies to achieve a v-shaped recovery in 2020 with output back above pre-coronavirus levels.

China is on track to vaccinate 40 per cent of its population by early summer, but “a full recovery will also require continued progress toward achieving wide-spread immunization, the World Bank said.