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Economy slows as sustainability rises

Chen Jia
Updated: Sep 15,2017 7:19 AM     China Daily

The growth momentum of China’s economy eased a little, with slower but fine-tuned growth in industrial output and investment, experts and officials said on Sept 14.

The year-on-year growth of industrial output slipped to 6 percent last month, down from 6.4 percent in July, hitting the year’s lowest level, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

Fixed-asset investment increased by 7.8 percent annually from January to August, slightly lower than in the first seven months.

NBS spokeswoman Liu Aihua said high temperatures and rainy weather in July and August had restricted industrial production to some degree.

Other key reasons for the growth rate drop include the central government’s continuing efforts in deleveraging and a slew of restructuring measures, such as curbing the high-energy-consumption industries cutting overcapacity, she added.

The industrial upgrade efforts will stabilize economic growth and help achieve more sustainable development, despite instabilities and uncertainties both at home and abroad, she said.

The latest economic data also contains positive signs. The service sector grew by 8.3 percent year-on-year in August, responding to structural adjustments and optimization, according to Pan Jiancheng, deputy head of the bureau’s economic monitoring center.

Last month, the output of high-tech industries and the high-end equipment manufacturing industry rose by 12.9 percent and 11.6 percent respectively, much higher than the average industrial growth rates, according to the NBS.

“A slower but high-quality growth drive will, with no doubt, benefit long-term development,” said Pan.

Following faster-than-expected GDP growth of 6.9 percent in the first half, this slowdown in industrial growth may lead to 6.7 percent growth in the third quarter, Pan said.

“But the whole year’s economic growth target of around 6.5 percent will not be missed,” he said.

From January to August, investment in the real estate sector increased by 7.9 percent from a year earlier, matching the figure of the first seven months.

Huang Qunhui, director of the Institute of Industrial Economics of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that policies issued last year to curb speculative housing transactions started to show effects in the third quarter. It also has influenced production of cement, steel and some other construction materials.

Facilitating real economic development, reducing the financial leverage rate and preventing systematic financial risk will remain the key tasks of macroeconomic policies for the rest of the year, Huang said.

Retail sales growth slightly eased to 10.1 percent from 10.4 percent in July, the NBS said.