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Data signifies economic stabilization

Updated: 2016-04-15 10:20
By Xin Zhiming (chinadaily.com.cn)

Data signifies economic stabilization

In the first quarter of 2016, China's economy grew by 6.7 percent year-on-year, a rate the National Bureau of Statistics said signifies the world's second-largest economy has started to "stabilize and made progress".

Other economic indicators, such as fixed-asset investment growth and retail sales, also suggest the Chinese economy is stabilizing.

The first-quarter growth is still 0.3 percentage points lower than that of 2015 as a whole and 0.1 percentage point lower than that of the last quarter. Still, the NBS said in a prepared statistics report on Friday that "major indictors have shown positive changes".

One of the "positive changes" is the fast growth of the tertiary industry, which was 7.6 percent year-on-year in the first quarter, significantly higher than the rates for industry as a whole and agriculture, which were 5.8 percent and 2.9 percent.

The fast growth of some new growth engines, such as internet-related sectors and advanced manufacturing, is also encouraging, the NBS said.

The value of online sales of goods and services in the first quarter reached 1.0251 trillion yuan ($157.7 billion), up by 27.8 percent year-on-year. The value of online sales of goods alone increased by 25.9 percent year-on-year, 15.6 percentage points higher than that of the overall retail sales in the same period.

Production of new energy vehicles increased sharply by 80.7 percent year-on-year in the first three months while that of smart TV by 33.7 percent. The year-on-year fixed-asset investment growth, which is a significant contributor to overall economic growth, was 10.7 percent in the first quarter, 0.7 percentage points higher than that of 2015 as a whole, according to the NBS report.

China's GDP growth hit 6.9 percent year-on-year in 2015, the lowest in 25 years, sparking concerns about the health of the major contributor to global economic recovery.

But thanks to the Government's supportive policies, China's economic fundamentals have improved to various degrees since the start of this year. International institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund, have raised their forecast for China's growth as the effects of the government's economy-bolstering measures have started showing.

The authorities have promised to take further measures to keep the economy on the right track. Policymakers have also promised to accelerate administrative approval reform, allow the market to play a bigger role in resource distribution, tap the potentials of new growth engines, cut taxes and encourage more business start-ups by private investors.

China's economic slowdown has been mainly caused by external and cyclical factors rather, so the government should expedite efforts to boost domestic demand to offset the headwinds, Justin Yifu Lin, Peking University economist and former World Bank chief economist, said on Thursday.

The country is likely to achieve 6.5 percent or higher growth during the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20) period, Lin told a forum organized by the Institute of World Economics and Politics of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

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