China’s 2017 economic growth to slow to 6.5%
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