Published: Mon, July 17, 2017
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

China's economy grew by more than forecast in the first six months

China's economy grew by more than forecast in the first six months

The country said its second-quarter GDP growth was 6.9 percent against the prior year, and that comes as investors watch the world's second-largest economy for any signs of slowdown amid concerns over high debt levels.

Factory output expanded 6.9 percent year-on-year in the first six months of the year, showing a slight increase of 0.1 percentage point over the first three months of the year.

The data showed that fixed assessment investment which includes spending on property construction and infrastructure, rose 8.6 percent in the first half of this year, down from 9.2 percent in the first quarter.

Analysts expected a 6.8 percent growth in the April to June quarter while Beijing's expansion target was around 6.5 percent for 2017, a little lower than the 6.7 percent the previous year which was the country's lowest rate in 26 years.

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The main Asian stock indexes fell on the data, before recovering to close the day at new highs.

On a quarter-on-quarter basis, the GDP rose 1.7 percent in the second quarter.

The gross domestic product grew to 38.15 trillion yuan (US$5.62 trillion) in the first half, up 6.9 percent year on year.

China's real estate investment growth slowed slightly in the second quarter from the first, suggesting government curbs to rein in the red-hot property market are starting to hit speculators even though underlying demand remains resilient.

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The result outpaced an expectation for 6.8% growth by economists polled by The Wall Street Journal.

The meeting is usually overseen by Premier Li Keqiang, but this year, President Xi Jinping also addressed the conference, making it clear the main focus was to reduce financial risks.

Retail sales also exceeded forecasts, printing at 11.0% year-on-year (consensus: 10.6%) versus 10.7% in May.

What that translates to is tighter control over the financial system and the economy, which could pose further strains as China's economy transitions to new sources of growth.

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Power output increased 6.3 percent year on year to 2.96 trillion kilowatt-hours in the first half of 2017, the NBS said.

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