BEIJING — China’s economy in the second quarter stayed on track to hit the government’s 7-percent growth target for the entire year, beating negative speculation over China’s economic performance and winning applaud from overseas experts.
In exclusive interviews with Xinhua or articles published by news media,the experts attributed the favorable half-year performance to the country’s ongoing reform and flexible policies.
“The first impression from the latest data is one of stability, with signs of restored momentum heading into the second half of the year. However, to the extent that growth was supported by financial sector gains from the stock market, it won’t be sustained without further stimulus,” Tom Orlik and Fielding Chen, Asia Economists for Bloomberg, told Xinhua.
They also mentioned that data for June pointed to restored momentum at the end of the quarter: Industrial output accelerated to 6.8 percent annual growth from 6.1 percent in May; retail sales accelerated slightly and fixed asset investment held steady -- halting a series of falls in the growth rate.
“Resilient growth likely reflects a combination of stimulus measures passing through to the real economy and frenetic activity on the equity market,” the Bloomberg experts added.
Igor Nikolayev, director of the FBK Strategic Analysis Institute of Russia, regarded the data as a “pleasant surprise” with key figures beyond expectations, beating former market forecast of 6.8 percent.
“China has scored remarkable economic achievements in the past 30 years and people have been concerned about when the rapid growth could be slowed down. Now is the time,” Nikolayev said.
In the eyes of Brendan Ahern, chief investment officer of a US fund company Kraneshares, the economic data are “positive indications that China’s economy is coming through a bottoming process.”
“Most impressive is the growth in retail sales which rose 10.6 percent, which shows the long run policy has benefited urbanization and raised domestic consumption,” Ahern told reporters.
Experts also noticed many ongoing changes: The tertiary industry constituted 49.5 percent of the GDP; consumer spending played a bigger role in fueling economic growth; per capita disposable income grew faster than the GPD; the job market was improving; and new industries, businesses and products were pringing up.
These changes resulted from such major reform initiatives as “Made in China 2025” and “Internet Plus.”
Published by the State Council in May, the “Made in China 2025” initiative aims to accelerate the transformation of the Chinese economy from a manufacture-oriented one into an innovation-driven one, which protects intellectual property and focuses on environment-friendly development.
The “Internet Plus” action plan was elaborated in March by Premier Li Keqiang in the government work report, which strives to integrate the Internet into modern manufacturing centering on promoting e-commerce, the Internet industry and the Internet finance.
With the help of the initiatives, new Internet companies have mushroomed across China in the first half of this year, with the number of newly-registered companies increasing at a year-on-year growth rate of 19.4 percent.
“In 2015, China emphasized reforms and structural adjustments which proved to be effective,” said Roberto Damas, economics professor at Business School Sao Paulo’s Insper in Brazil, adding that the Chinese government should carry on with the reforms and structural adjustments.
“Structural adjustments are unlikely to be completed in the short run, which may need another decade,” Damas said.
Experts also believe the Chinese economy, whose performance also impacts the world economy, would continue at a stable pace in the second half of the year.
“As the policies aiming at stabilizing the economy continue to take effect, the Chinese economy is expected to gain more momentum in the third quarter,” Guo Feng, chief economist on China at the Institute of International Finance, told Xinhua.
“As the Chinese economy gradually stabilizes and gets better, it will also benefit the world economic growth,” Guo added.
“China has a range of policies that will beneficially effect the economy in quarters to come: One Belt One Road, Internet Plus, and Made In China, to name a few,” Ahern said, emphasizing that “continued focus on implementation of these policies will help mitigate Greece’s turmoil in Europe and the continued low growth in the United States.”
The Silk Road Economic Belt, together with the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road, commonly known as the “Belt and Road” initiatives, were proposed by President Xi Jinping in 2013. The initiatives bring together countries in Asia, Europe and even Africa via overland and maritime networks, with the purpose of boosting infrastructure building, financial cooperation and cultural exchanges in those regions.
Ross Garnaut, an economist who was once an Australian Ambassador to China, suggested less stress put on the slowdown, which he believed won’t decide the future of a country.
“Sustainable development with balanced structure, market reform and lower energy consumption is the key for China’s future,” he stressed.