China GDP grows 6.9 percent in the second quarter

CHINA-ECONOMY-TRADE

Analysts polled by Reuters had expected the economy to expand 6.8 per cent in the April-June quarter, slightly slower than the pervious quarter's robust 6.9 per cent pace.

Thus, China managed to exceed its target of 6.5 percent growth, set by the government for 2017.

China's retail sales grew by 10.4 percent in the first half of the year, picking up pace versus the first quarter's 10 percent growth, the statistics bureau also said.

The service sector, already accounting for 54.1 per cent of the overall economy, expanded 7.7 percent year on year in the first half, outpacing a 3.5 percent increase in primary industries and 6.4 percent in secondary industries, according to NBS data.

Debt-fuelled investment in infrastructure and real estate has underpinned China's growth for years but warnings of a potential financial crisis have spurred Beijing to clamp down.

"(The new data) is encouraging for global growth as well because China is the second largest economy on the planet", said Craig James, chief economist at Commonwealth Securities in Sydney. Therefore, the second-quarter upturn could be a boon for the country's leaders as they seek to contain a unsafe build-up in debt that has ballooned to 277 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).

Industrial enterprises above the designated size reaped profits of 2.9 trillion yuan in the first five months, representing an increase of 22.7 percent from a year ago.

Moody's credit rating agency in May cut China's sovereign credit rating for the first time since 1989, citing the country's worsening debt outlook.

In June, natural gas output surged 14.6 percent year on year to 11.55 billion cubic meters, 4.1 percentage points higher than the growth in May.

Fixed asset investment gained 8.6 percent on year - unchanged from the previous month and beating forecasts for 8.5 percent.

The National Bureau of Statistics however adopted a cautious tone.

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