Early this year, China watchers expressed concerns that the country’s economy might start to weaken in the second quarter. However, the latest data from the National Bureau of Statistics show such concerns were unfounded, and the world’s second-largest economy remains resilient. The economy expanded by 6.9 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier, the same as in the first quarter, according to the figures released by the NBS on Monday. Even more encouraging, key indicators, such as industrial output and consumption, reveal that improvements are being made in adjusting the country’s economic structure.
Investment in high-tech industries, for example, increased by 21.5 percent, 12.9 percentage points higher than overall investment growth, while retail sales of consumer goods grew 10.4 percent year-on-year, up from 10 percent in the first quarter. And the service sector, which already accounts for 54.1 percent of the overall economy, expanded 7.7 percent year-on-year in the first half of the year. According to the NBS, domestic consumption now accounts for 63.4 percent of GDP growth, which highlights the progress China is making in its bid to make innovation and domestic demand the drivers of economic growth.
Considering that this performance has been achieved against the backdrop of efforts to reduce excess production capacity and cut corporate debt levels, the figures are not only impressive, but also suggest the country has managed to successfully strike a balance in its bid to promote economic growth and restructuring.
Looking to the future, China will continue to press ahead with its tasks of reducing excessive production capacity, cutting real estate stocks, and lowering corporate debt levels, while further strengthening its environmental protection and water conservancy efforts.
Although policymakers will need to remain alert to the possibility of slower growth in the third quarter, there can be little doubt that the country is on course to achieve its pre-set GDP growth target of “around 6.5 percent” for the year.
With its growth target attainable, and the economy maintaining stable and coordinated development, the leadership has more room to push ahead with economic restructuring and reforms. Financial reform, for example, is on the cards, after the country consolidated its financial regulatory power at the newly-concluded National Financial Work Conference, which ended on Saturday.
And further headway in advancing the necessary reforms will in turn make the Chinese economy more efficient, competitive and sustainable in the coming years.