GDP data show con­tin­ued ex­pan­sion

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By XIN ZHIMING and WANG YANFEI Con­tact the writ­ers at xinzhim­ing@chi­

China’s econ­omy ex­panded at a faster-than-ex­pected 6.9 per­cent year-on-year in the sec­ond quar­ter and econ­o­mists said the trend of sta­ble growth is set to con­tinue into the sec­ond half of 2017, paving the way for the coun­try to strengthen re­forms.

The econ­omy, as mea­sured by the gross do­mes­tic prod­uct, was un­changed from the first quar­ter and has re­mained in the 6.7 to 6.9 per­cent range for eight con­sec­u­tive months, ac­cord­ing to data re­leased on Mon­day by the Na­tional Bureau of Sta­tis­tics. GDP growth ac­cel­er­ated to 1.7 per­cent in the sec­ond quar­ter, up from 1.3 per­cent in the first quar­ter.

Key in­di­ca­tors, such as in­dus­trial out­put, re­tail sales and fixed-as­set in­vest­ment, all were at high lev­els in the sec­ond quar­ter, the NBS said. Real es­tate in­vest­ment, a key driv­ing force of growth, in­creased by 8.5 per­cent in the first half of this year, slightly down from the first quar­ter. “Real es­tate in­vest­ment, to­gether with in­fra­struc­ture in­vest­ment, re­mained brisk and con­trib­uted to the strong growth in the sec­ond quar­ter,” said Yu Yongding, an econ­o­mist with the Chi­nese Acad­emy of So­cial Sci­ences.

The eco­nomic struc­ture also has im­proved, ac­cord­ing to NBS data. For ex­am­ple, in­vest­ment in high-tech man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­tries grew by 21.5 per­cent year-on-year in the first half of this year, 12.9 per­cent­age points higher than over­all in­vest­ment growth.

The cru­cial job mar­ket, mean­while, re­mained sta­ble, with 7.35 mil­lion jobs cre­ated in ur­ban ar­eas in the first half of this year, 180,000 more than a year ear­lier, ac­cord­ing to the NBS.

Look­ing ahead, China’s eco­nomic growth may ease mod­er­ately, mainly due to slow­ing growth ex­pected in real es­tate in­vest­ment thanks to the coun­try’s tight­en­ing of price con­trol poli­cies, but it faces much less pres­sure to grow, an­a­lysts said.

“The econ­omy may con­tinue to fluc­tu­ate a lit­tle bit, but there would not be sharp declines, and China does not face any risk of a hard land­ing,” said Yu of CASS, who also is for­mer mem­ber of the mon­e­tary pol­icy com­mit­tee of the Peo­ple’s Bank of China, the cen­tral bank.

China’s whole-year growth this year may reach 6.7 per­cent, mean­ing it will meet its tar­get of “around 6.5 per­cent”, ac­cord­ing to fore­casts by some in­sti­tu­tions, such as the China Cen­ter for In­ter­na­tional Eco­nomic Ex­changes and in­vest­ment bank ICBC In­ter­na­tional.

“China’s pres­sure from growth sta­bi­liza­tion has eased greatly and it will pay way for its macroe­co­nomic ma­neu­vers to up­grade its eco­nomic struc­ture and con­tain risks,” said Cheng Shi, chief econ­o­mist at ICBC In­ter­na­tional.

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