China’s 2017 eco­nomic growth to slow to 6.5%

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

BEI­JING: China’s eco­nomic growth will slow to 6.5 per­cent next year and the yuan will con­tinue fall­ing against the dol­lar, a top Chi­nese think-tank said yes­ter­day. The pre­dic­tion fol­lows a raft of pos­i­tive data ear­lier this month that raised hopes of an end to the slow­down. But the econ­omy-the world’s se­cond largest-still “faces in­creas­ing down­ward pres­sure”, the Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sci­ences (CASS) warned, ac­cord­ing to a tran­script on the of­fi­cial china.org.cn web­site.

It also pre­dicted that the yuan, cur­rently hov­er­ing around eight-year lows would lose an­other three to five per­cent against the dol­lar. The gov­ern­ment-linked think-tank made the fore­casts at an an­nual press con­fer­ence, three days af­ter Chi­nese lead­ers wrapped up a key eco­nomic meet­ing known as the Cen­tral Eco­nom­ics Work Con­fer­ence. At the con­clave, at­tended by Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping, lead­ers vowed to fix the prob­lems ail­ing the par­tially-planned econ­omy, tak­ing aim at scle­rotic state-owned en­ter­prises and prop­erty spec­u­la­tion that has raised fears of a mas­sive bub­ble about to burst.

Last year CASS pre­dicted the econ­omy would grow at a rate of 6.7 per­cent. So far, that pre­dic­tion has been spot on: the econ­omy ex­panded 6.7 per­cent for three con­sec­u­tive quar­ters this year, the slow­est pace since the global fi­nan­cial cri­sis. This year’s pre­dic­tion of 6.5 per­cent plumbs the lower depths of the na­tional goal of be­tween 6.5-7.0 per­cent.

It would be the low­est an­nual fig­ure since 1990 when it clocked in at 3.9 per­cent. The coun­try’s five-year plan for eco­nomic and so­cial devel­op­ment pledged av­er­age growth of at least 6.5 per­cent a year over the 20162020 pe­riod-im­ply­ing that at times it could be lower. — AP

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