BEIJING — China’s economy ended 2016 on a positive note, supported by consumer spending and a booming property market, remaining a key engine for global economic expansion.
China’s economy grew 6.7 percent year on year in 2016, a slowdown from the 6.9-percent growth registered in 2015, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) data showed on Jan 20.
That marked China’s slowest annual expansion in 26 years. But it was in line with the official target range of 6.5 to 7 percent for 2016 and much stronger than some doom-mongers had predicted at the start of 2016, when concerns about a collapse in China’s growth rocked global financial markets.
The figure represents a medium-high level of growth and China’s economy continued to run within a reasonable range, with its structure further optimized and development model transformed, NBS chief Ning Jizhe said at a press conference.
Gross domestic product totaled 74.41 trillion yuan (about $10.83 trillion) in 2016, with the service sector accounting for 51.6 percent. Consumption contributed 64.6 percent to GDP growth last year.
Despite a protracted slowdown, China’s contribution to the world economic growth may again top that of all other countries, even exceeding the figure for all developed economies combined.
Early this week, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) revised its forecasts for China’s growth upward by 0.1 percentage point to 6.7 percent for 2016 and by 0.3 percentage points to 6.5 percent for 2017.
With the IMF predicting only 3.1 percent global growth last year, China’s contribution would account for more than one-third of the world’s growth.
For the fourth quarter, China’s economy grew 6.8 percent, slightly beating market forecasts and suggesting growth was stabilizing on a quarterly basis.
NBS data showed that major economic indicators softened last year, with industrial output growth slowing slightly to 6 percent from 6.1 percent in 2015.
Urban fixed-asset investment continued to cool, rising 8.1 percent year on year, compared with 10 percent in 2015. Retail sales rose 10.4 percent, down from 10.7 percent in 2015.
However, property development investment increased 6.9 percent year on year in 2016, up from only one percent in 2015.