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China surprises with 6.9% growth for quarter

Apr 17. 2017
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CHINA saw unexpectedly high economic growth in the first quarter of 2017 even as the property market continues to cool.

The economy got off to a strong start this year, with gross domestic product expanding at 6.9 per cent year on year, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics yesterday.

Improvements in industrial production, investment and exports combined to bolster the economy in that period, the bureau said. 

GDP growth in the first three months remained steady at 0.2 percentage point higher than a year ago, showing a stabilising trend in the economy, analysts said.

First-quarter growth, though, is likely a minor anomaly as the overall Chinese economy continues to slow down. 

Although consumption growth dropped slightly, increasing at 10 per cent in the first three months, down by 0.4 percentage point compared with the whole of 2016, an uptick in infrastructure investment and a higher export growth have contributed to the stable growth. 

Fixed-asset investment expanded at 9.2 per cent year on year in the January-March period while export growth was 14.8 per cent.

The real estate market, however, is expected to continue cooling in the coming months, affecting consumption of related products, such as furniture, electric household appliances and building materials, said Lian Ping, chief economist of Bank of Communications.

“Uncertainties also come from the international markets,” he said. 

The growth figures are overshadowed, however, by deeper problems in the Chinese economy like personal debt, according to the BBC, which the news outlet cited at 250 per cent of GDP. 

The Communist Party has yet to announce a major policy on the issue, which could become a political concern as well as an economic one in the near future.


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