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Economic growth stays on track in November

Xin Zhiming/Ouyang Shijia
Updated: Dec 15,2017 7:39 AM     China Daily

Shoppers choose decorations for Christmas at a supermarket in Suzhou, Jiangsu province.[Photo/China Daily]

Economic growth remained on track in November, although investment and industrial output growth dropped slightly, said a senior official of the National Bureau of Statistics on Dec 14.

Analysts said that with growth remaining solid, the country’s macroeconomic policy stance will be largely unchanged.

Retail sales increased 10.2 percent year-on-year last month, compared with 10 percent in October, according to data released by the NBS.

In November, industrial output growth was 6.1 percent, down from 6.2 percent, while fixed-asset investment reached 7.2 percent in the first 11 months, down from 7.3 percent in the January-October period.

Real estate development investment, which is a key pillar of the national economy, increased by 7.5 percent year-on-year in the first 11 months, down from 7.8 percent in the first 10 months.

“The national economy in November maintained stable and improving growth momentum and was quite stable and resilient,” NBS spokesman Mao Shengyong said at a news briefing. “However, we should be aware that there remain many external risks, and the country still faces great challenges in seeking high-quality development.”

One of the encouraging signs came from Northeast China — Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning provinces — where private investment growth, a key indicator of economic activity that has nose-dived in recent years, turned positive to reach 0.3 percent in the January-November period, compared with minus 3 percent in the first 10 months. The region has suffered a serious economic slowdown in recent years.

The overall economy remains sound, as indicated by strong growth of imports and exports as well as a low unemployment rate, said the spokesman.

China’s exports surged 10.3 percent in November, much higher than market expectations. The nation’s unemployment rate has remained at low levels of less than 5 percent in recent months, according to NBS data.

November’s real economic activity continued at a steady pace, said a UBS research note.

The People’s Bank of China on Thursday raised its seven-day and 28-day repo rates and medium-term lending facility and standing lending facility rates by 5 basis points following the US Federal Reserve’s rate hike, indicating the central bank’s intention to keep rates elevated as US monetary policy normalization and China’s ongoing drive to deleverage continue to unfold, the note said.

“With current growth still robust and slowing only very modestly, we expect macro policies to stay unchanged in the next few months,” UBS said. “As stable growth is still important, we do not expect any serious additional tightening policies, including on the property sector,” it said.

If the economy slows more visibly, which is likely in the first or second quarter, the government may adjust its current tightening measures, including those on local government financing and environmental rules, it added.