China’s economy grew at 6.7% in 2016 — the slowest in 26 years — but managing to stay within the growth bandwidth promised by the government last year, official data showed on Friday. The government had forecast that China’s gross domestic product (GDP) will grow between 6.5% and 7% in 2016.
Growth in the fourth quarter of 2016, in fact, came in at 6.8%, accelerating from 6.7% in the third quarter, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), which shared the data at a news conference.
China’s official Xinhua news agency said the GDP totaled 74.41 trillion Yuan (about $10.83 trillion) last year, with the service sector accounting for 51.6% . As the second largest economy and a major driver of the global economy, China’s economic ups and downs are closely followed worldwide.
The data was released two days after it was revealed that a Chinese province, Liaoning, had been faking GDP data for at least three years.
“The governor of Liaoning province, the only area in China in a recession, now says three years of recent economic figures were inflated — a rare official confession of data fabrication that has long been suspected and criticised,” Caixin magazine reported.
Ning Jizhe, director of NBS, said on Friday the national data was “truthful and reliable”. Ning added that statistics departments will strengthen “law enforcement, supervision, and checks on figures” and guard and prevent data fabrication.
The latest data from China came a day after President Xi Jinping warned against a potential “trade war” while speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos in Switzerland. “We should also recognise that economic globalisation is a double-edged sword,” he said.