Econ­omy slows as sus­tain­abil­ity rises

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By CHEN JIA chen­jia@chi­nadaily.com.cn

The growth mo­men­tum of China’s econ­omy eased a lit­tle, with slower but fine­tuned growth in in­dus­trial out­put and in­vest­ment, ex­perts and of­fi­cials said on Thurs­day.

The year-on-year growth of in­dus­trial out­put slipped to 6 per­cent last month, down from 6.4 per­cent in July, hit­ting the year’s low­est level, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Bu­reau of Sta­tis­tics.

Fixed-as­set in­vest­ment in­creased by 7.8 per­cent an­nu­ally from Jan­uary to Au­gust, slightly lower than in the first seven months.

NBS spokes­woman Liu Ai­hua said high tem­per­a­tures and rainy weather in July and Au­gust had re­stricted in­dus­trial pro­duc­tion to some de­gree.

Other key rea­sons for the growth rate drop in­clude the cen­tral gov­ern­ment’s con­tin­u­ing ef­forts in delever­ag­ing and a slew of re­struc­tur­ing mea­sures, such as curb­ing the high-en­ergy-con­sump­tion in­dus­tries cut­ting over­ca­pac­ity, she added.

The in­dus­trial up­grade ef­forts will sta­bi­lize eco­nomic growth and help achieve more sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment, de­spite in­sta­bil­i­ties and un­cer­tain­ties both at home and abroad, she said.

The lat­est eco­nomic data also con­tains pos­i­tive signs. The ser­vice sec­tor grew by 8.3 per­cent year-on-year in Au­gust, re­spond­ing to struc­tural ad­just­ments and op­ti­miza­tion, ac­cord­ing to Pan Jiancheng, deputy head of the bu­reau’s eco­nomic mon­i­tor­ing cen­ter.

Last month, the out­put of high-tech in­dus­tries and the high-end equip­ment man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­try rose by 12.9 per­cent and 11.6 per­cent re­spec­tively, much higher than the av­er­age in­dus­trial growth rates, ac­cord­ing to the NBS.

“A slower but high-qual­ity growth drive will, with no doubt, ben­e­fit long-term de­vel­op­ment,” said Pan.

Fol­low­ing faster-than-ex­pected GDP growth of 6.9 per­cent in the first half, this slow­down in in­dus­trial growth may lead to 6.7 per­cent growth in the third quar­ter, Pan said.

“But the whole year’s eco­nomic growth tar­get of around 6.5 per­cent will not be missed,” he said.

From Jan­uary to Au­gust, in­vest­ment in the real es­tate sec­tor in­creased by 7.9 per­cent from a year ear­lier, match­ing the fig­ure of the first seven months.

Huang Qun­hui, di­rec­tor of the In­sti­tute of In­dus­trial Eco­nomics of the Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sciences, said that poli­cies is­sued last year to curb spec­u­la­tive hous­ing trans­ac­tions started to show ef­fects in the third quar­ter. It also has in­flu­enced pro­duc­tion of ce­ment, steel and some other con­struc­tion ma­te­ri­als.

Fa­cil­i­tat­ing real eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, re­duc­ing the fi­nan­cial lever­age rate and pre­vent­ing sys­tem­atic fi­nan­cial risk will re­main the key tasks of macroe­co­nomic poli­cies for the rest of the year, Huang said.

Re­tail sales growth slightly eased to 10.1 per­cent from 10.4 per­cent in July, the NBS said.

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