China's 2017 economic data shows successful soft landing

Updated 2018-03-01 09:39:02

Data shows successful soft landing, ongoing structure optimization

China's economy accounted for 15 percent of the world's economy in 2017, expanding by three percentage points compared with five years ago, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) announced.

The NBS on Wednesday released a communiqué on China's economic and social development in 2017, which Chinese economists say shows that the world's second largest economy has landed softly while continuously optimizing its structure.

China's economy, with GDP worth 82.7 trillion yuan ( trillion) and 6.9 percent year-on-year growth in 2017, remained an important growth engine for global economic recovery, the communiqué said. China's contribution to world economic growth stood at around 30 percent in 2017.

NBS chief statistician Sheng Laiyun said the communiqué highlighted sound economic growth, greater overall national strength and international influence, better quality growth, and new growth engines.

China's foreign trade stood at 27.79 trillion yuan in 2017, up 14.2 percent year-on-year. Exports grew by 10.8 percent and imports rose by 18.7 percent. Its goods surplus narrowed by 473.4 billion yuan in 2017, indicating a more balanced trade, the NBS said.

Trade with countries and regions involved in the Belt and Road initiative rose by 17.8 percent to 7.37 trillion yuan.

Soft landing

Wan Zhe, chief economist of the International Cooperation Center of China's National Development and Reform Commission, said the 2017 economic figures showed that China has moved further toward structural adjustments and optimization.

China's tertiary industry grew by 8 percent in 2017, accounting for 51.6 percent of the total economy. The ratio remained the same as the previous year.

The rising contribution of the tertiary industry and other improvements such as a reduction of nearly 13 million poverty-stricken people from the rural areas are concrete examples of China's structural optimization, Wan said, noting that stable growth and continued optimization summarize the growth trend in 2017.

"Stable growth shows that the Chinese economy has transformed smoothly, without big sways," Wan told the Global Times.

Continued optimization means the central government's economic policies are focused on supply-side structural reforms, and continue to yield positive results, Wan said.

Liao Qun, chief economist at China CITIC Bank in Hong Kong, said the 2017 economic data indicates China's successful soft landing.

The Chinese government will probably reduce some heat from the humming economy to give more room to address issues such as overcapacity and debt in 2018, Liao said, noting that a 6.3 percent GDP growth in 2018 would be enough to allow China to realize its target of doubling its 2010 GDP by 2020.

Looking ahead

Sheng stressed that China has the conditions and capability to maintain a sound economic growth in 2018 despite domestic and international challenges.

The manufacturing purchasing managers' index came in slightly above the expansion/contraction level at 50.3 in February, down from 51.3 in January, hitting its lowest point in six months, the NBS said.

Wan cautioned that while the nurturing of a new growth momentum continued to show positive results, it's still too early to say whether the economic transformation has entered a new phase.

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