You weren’t expecting anything else, were you?
With China’s once every five years Communist Party leadership shift coming up this year, official figures released last night showed China’s GDP growing at a 6.8% rate in the fourth quarter. That puts the full-year 2016 growth rate at 6.7%. That’s right in the middle of the official current target range of 6.5% to 7% growth and matches the old 6.7% target exactly.
The 6.8% growth rate in the fourth quarter, coming after a 6.7% growth rate in the third quarter, was the first time the economy accelerated in two years.
Other official figures released today confirmed the official GDP picture. Retail sales increased by 10.9% in December year on year. That was the strongest growth in a year. Industrial production rose 6% year over year. Fixed-asset investment, outside rural areas, expanded by 8.1% for the full 2016 year.
The government also released figures showing that its effort to shift the economy from exports and manufacturing to internal consumption and services are working. Consumption accounted for 64.6% of growth in 2016. Services accounted for more than half of total economic activity at 51.6%.
Economists surveyed by Bloomberg are projecting that growth in China will fall to 6.4% in 2017. The International Monetary Fund is looking for 6.5% growth.