Q1 GDP data signal strength, stability
Trade friction won't dent China's growth momentum: official
China’s first-quarter GDP data show the economy is strong and stable, a situation that an official said won’t change amid trade tensions with the US.
The domestic economy expanded 6.8 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2018 to 19.88 trillion yuan ($3.16 trillion), data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed Tuesday.
“The GDP data point to stability in the Chinese economy, thanks mainly to an acceleration in property investment and strong private consumption. Investment growth in the previously struggling northeastern region exceeded the national average, reducing the drag on overall investment. A recovery in car sales supported a firming in retail sales,” Su Yue, China economist at the Economist Intelligence Unit, told the Global Times on Tuesday.
First-quarter industrial value added increased 6.8 percent, down 0.4 percentage point from the January-February period. But emerging instries and new products posted fast growth, with industrial value added in the technology and equipment manufacturing industries growing 11.9 percent and 8.8 percent, respectively. However, the fixed-asset investment growth rate slid 1.7 percentage points year-onyear to 7.5 percent in the first quarter, according to the NBS data.
The latest figures mean that China's economic growth has held at 6.7 percent to 6.9 percent for 11 consecutive quarters.
However, Liu Dongliang, a senior analyst at China Merchants Bank, forecast that the full-year economic growth rate will likely ly drop moderately, though this year’s target of around 6.5 percent can still be achieved.
Challenges for the remainder of this year include managing what’s expected to beexcessively strong investment growth sector while encouraging a revival in weak industrial and manufacturing investment, Su saud.
With the central government in the services developers’ access to credit and focusing on controlling household leverage, these property sector will likely cool later in the year. The central government is also tightening ap-
“The GDP data point to stability in the Chinese economy, thanks mainly to an acceleration in property investment and strong private consumption.” Su Yue, China economist at the Economist Intelligence Unit
proval of infrastructure projects due to local government debt concerns, she said.
The Chinese economy is resilient to trade friction with the US and the sound momentum of the domestic economy will not be disturbed, spokesperson for the NBS Xing Zhihong told a press conference on Tuesday.
Due to supply-side structural reforms and innovationdriven strategies, China’s economic growth has shifted from industry-driven to industry- and services-driven, from investment-driven to investmentand consumption-driven and from export-driven to export- and import-driven.
These changes have greatly increased Chinese economic stability, Xing said.
Meanwhile, innovation has provided great potential to the Chinese economy.
“China has great capabilities to counter China-US trade friction, as well as various risks and challenges, to maintain sound economic development,” the spokesperson said.
When asked about the impact of escalating trade tensions with the US on China’s foreign trade, Xing said that “China never purposely seeks a trade surplus… China pursues balanced trade, which also benefits its own economic growth.”
In the past two years, China’s trade surplus continued to contract, but exports still grew because China has a comprehensive competitive advantage, he said.
The Chinese government has expressed a firm stance toward the trade problem with the US, Xing said, noting that China’s opening-up has further expanded and the country can maintain its import-export trade balance thanks to the growing competitiveness of domestic enterprises.
Workers at a construction site in Fuzhou, capital of East China’s Fujian Province in March