China achieved solid year-on-year GDP growth of 6.9 percent in the first three quarters, putting it in a position to comfortably achieve its whole-year target of around 6.5 percent. Analysts said the solid growth trend is expected to be carried into the fourth quarter.
Growth was 6.8 percent in the third quarter, compared with 6.9 percent in both first and second quarters, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. China has kept its growth within the 6.7 to 6.9 percent range for nine consecutive quarters.
“The resilience of [China’s economic] development has significantly improved,” said NBS spokesman Xing Zhihong on Oct 19.
China’s industrial output grew at 6.7 percent in the first three quarters, up from 6 percent a year ago. Retail sales growth was 10.4 percent in the January-September period, unchanged from a year ago, while fixed-asset investment growth eased to 7.5 percent, down from 8.2 percent in the same period last year.
Xing said China has also made progress in advancing its supply-side structural reform, with corporate debt levels and costs, for example, reduced year-on-year in the first three quarters.
The quality of growth has significantly improved, with residential income and corporate profits both registering higher year-on-year growth, Xing said.
China has attached more importance to the quality of growth in recent years. Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, said on Oct 18 during the Party’s 19th National Congress that the country “has been transitioning from a phase of rapid growth to a stage of high-quality development”.
It’s likely that growth will remain stable in the fourth quarter, said Lian Ping, chief economist at Bank of Communications. “The property market and consumption will help stabilize growth in the fourth quarter.”
Real estate development growth reached 8.1 percent in the first three quarters, 2.3 percentage points higher than a year ago. Consumption traditionally is robust in the fourth quarter.
Most analysts forecast that China’s GDP growth could be 6.8 percent or 6.9 percent for the whole year, beating the preset target of around 6.5 percent. Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the People’s Bank of China, the central bank, said on Oct 15 it may even reach 7 percent this year. If it turned out to be at least 6.8 percent, it would be the first annual growth acceleration since 2010.