China’s economy on sound footing in first half

BEIJING (China Daily/ANN) - NDRC unveils range of measures to support high-quality development.

China’s economic growth held steady in the first half of 2019 despite headwinds, as positive factors are increasing to support high-quality development, the country’s top economic regulator said on Tuesday.

The National Development and Reform Commission said it will take key measures in a new push to shore up points of weakness, ensure stable investment, further improve the co-ordination mechanism, promptly begin construction of major national projects, promote the healthy growth of private investment and deepen reform in delegating powers, enhancing regulation and strengthening public services.

Meng Wei, spokesperson for the NDRC, said the country maintained overall economic stability with steady growth, and economic performance remains within a reasonable range.

“We are in face of a complex and grave economic situation with increasing external uncertainties and new downward pressure,” Meng said at an NDRC news conference on Tuesday in Beijing.

“We should think about worst-case scenarios while being confident and maintaining strategic resolve. China is still in an important period of strategic opportunity for development. The fundamentals of the Chinese economy are sound and will remain sound over the long term.”

China’s economy expanded 6.3 per cent year-on-year in the first half of this year, meeting the GDP growth target of 6 to 6.5 per cent set for 2019, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

In the first half, investment in fixed assets, excluding rural households, reached 29.9 trillion yuan ($4.3 trillion). Fixed asset investment increased 5.8 per cent year-on-year, 0.2 percentage point faster than that in the first five months. Specifically, investment in high-tech services rose 13.5 per cent year-on-year during that period.

The NDRC said it approved 94 fixed asset investment projects in the first six months, mainly in the fields of energy, transportation and high-tech. The overall investment hit 471.5 billion yuan.

Meng noted as China has a sufficient supply of industrial and agricultural products, the overall price level will remain steady for the rest of the year.

In the first half, China’s consumer prices increased mildly and producer prices for industrial products were generally stable, NBS data showed.

The consumer price index, a key gauge of prices for goods and services, went up by 2.2 per cent year-on-year in the first half, 0.4 percentage point faster than the first quarter. Core CPI excluding the price of food and energy increased 1.8 per cent year-on-year, 0.1 percentage point lower than that in the first quarter.

“For the current and the future period, the Chinese economy faces big impacts from changes in external trade and international financial conditions, which will generate a lot of downward pressure on the economy,” Yu Ze, a researcher at the National Academy of Development and Strategy of Renmin University of China, said in a report published at a macro economy forum held last month in Beijing.

“Although the Chinese economy has shown some resilience, it will need more supportive policies in the short term. We expect GDP will grow 6.1 per cent this year, 0.5 percentage point down from 2018.”

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