China First-Quar­ter GDP Growth Seen Eas­ing


BEI­JING (Reuters) - China likely car­ried most of its strong eco­nomic mo­men­tum from last year into the first quar­ter of 2018, with govern­ment crack­downs on fi­nan­cial risks and in­dus­trial pol­lu­tion drag­ging less on ac­tiv­ity than ear­lier ex­pected, a Reuters poll showed.

Bei­jing is look­ing to keep the eco­nomic bal­anc­ing act in­tact even as it faces ris­ing trade ten­sions with its largest trad­ing part­ner, the United States, that could im­pact bil­lions of dol­lars in cross-bor­der trade.

A poll of 60 econ­o­mists showed growth in gross do­mes­tic prod­uct likely eased marginally to 6.7 per­cent in the first quar­ter from a year ear­lier, com­pared with the 6.8 per­cent clip in the pre­vi­ous two quar­ters.

At the start of the year, an­a­lysts were pen­cil­ing in a first-quar­ter slow­down to 6.6 per­cent.

The con­sen­sus fore­cast in­di­cates growth re­mained com­fort­ably above the govern­ment’s tar­get of around 6.5 per­cent for the full year, which could give pol­i­cy­mak­ers more con­fi­dence to step up ef­forts to re­duce risks in the fi­nan­cial sys­tem and clean up the en­vi­ron­ment.

China’s eco­nomic data so far this year has pointed to steady if slightly slower growth from 2017, with fac­tory out­put hold­ing up de­spite smog con­trols and con­sumer spend­ing still rel­a­tively re­silient.

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