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China says no problem meeting 2017 growth target, may beat it

The World Bank raised its economic growth forecast for China for 2017 to 6.7% from 6.5%.

world Updated: Oct 10, 2017 11:56 IST
Reuters, Beijing
China,China economy,World Bank
A worker at the American Industrial Park in Shenyang. Analysts in China expect that full-year growth would meet or exceed the government’s target.(AFP file photo)

China will have no problem meeting its economic growth target of around 6.5% this year, and may even beat it, the head of the Statistics Bureau said on Tuesday, confirming widespread market expectations.

Steps taken by the government to rein in the overheated property market have also been effective and will remain in place, Ning Jizhe told reporters in a briefing in Beijing.

Analysts have expected that full-year growth would meet or exceed the government’s target after the world’s second-largest economy expanded by a stronger-than-expected 6.9% in the first half, fuelled by heavy government infrastructure spending and a property boom.

If growth does beat last year’s 6.7% -- the lowest in 26 years -- it would mark the first acceleration in the growth rate in seven years.

As fears of the economy suffering a hardlanding have faded, policymakers have become readier to tackle mounting debt and push forward difficult structural reforms.

Ning’s comments came just a week before a five-yearly Communist Party Congress which will be closely watched for any leadership reshuffle and cues on broad policy directions.

While the economy could lose some momentum in coming months due to higher borrowing costs and property cooling measures, most analysts believe the slowdown will be moderate.

The World Bank last week raised its economic growth forecast for China for 2017 to 6.7% from 6.5%. It also estimates growth will moderate at a slower pace to 6.4% in 2018 compared to a previous forecast of 6.3%.

Some critics have argued China should abandon its arbitrary annual growth target or lower it, to allow healthier and more sustainable economic development, and become less reliant on government stimulus.

China routinely sets its GDP target during a central government economic meeting towards the year-end and announces it at the country’s annual parliament meeting early in the next year.

Ning said survey-based unemployment in major cities was 4.83% in September, the lowest since 2012.

Many analysts, however, say official job figures are an unreliable indicator of nationwide employment conditions.

First Published: Oct 10, 2017 11:55 IST