BEIJING — China’s economy continued steady expansion in the first half of this year with GDP up 6.9 percent year on year to about 38.2 trillion yuan ($5.6 trillion), data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed on July 17.
The reading is well above the government’s target for the year of 6.5 percent.
In the second quarter, GDP held steady at 6.9 percent year on year, flat from the first quarter.
China’s economy is operating within a reasonable range, maintaining stable, coordinated and sustainable development, said NBS spokesperson Xing Zhihong, “laying a solid foundation for achieving the annual target.”
On a quarterly basis, the economy grew 1.7 percent in the second quarter from the previous quarter.
Industrial output expanded 6.9 percent year on year in the first six months, against 6 percent in the same period last year. Retail sales of consumer goods grew 10.4 percent year on year, up from 10 percent for the first quarter.
Fixed-asset investment grew 8.6 percent year on year in the first half, down 0.6 percentage points from the first quarter, while private sector investment was up 7.2 percent to 17 trillion yuan, accounting for 60.7 percent of the total.
Xing said the steady growth was the result of progresses in supply-side structural reform and new development concepts.
The service sector, already accounting for 54.1 percent 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.
Industrial capacity utilization stood at 76.4 percent in the first half, up 3.4 percentage points from a year ago.
In terms of de-stocking in the property market, the floor space of unsold homes were down 9.6 percent at the end of June.
Some 7.35 million new jobs were created in China’s urban regions from January to June, 180,000 more than the same period last year, while per capita disposable income grew 8.8 percent.
China aims to create more than 11 million jobs this year, 1 million more than last year’s target.
Xing also warned that there are still uncertainties and instabilities internationally, while domestic long-term structural contradictions remain prominent.
Looking ahead, Xing said more positive changes are on the way, and that the firming will be consolidated by improvement in the real economy and expansion of both external and domestic demand.
Nomura Securities said in a report after July 17’s data release that given the data, it is raising the forecast for the Q3 growth to 6.8 percent from the previous 6.6 percent, and the annual growth forecast to 6.8 percent from 6.7 percent.
The forecast of a gradual growth slowdown due to a weakening property sector and the possible moderation of domestic demand, as well as uncertainties over external demand remained valid, said the report.