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China GDP to Grow 6.8%

Fixed asset investment growth is likely to remain strong, expanding 8.9% in the first three months of the year
In recent years China has focused on upgrading its industrial sector; automation now plays an increasingly important role.In recent years China has focused on upgrading its industrial sector; automation now plays an increasingly important role.

China's economy is likely to remain solid in the first quarter of this year, growing 6.8% from a year earlier, Goldman Sachs forecast.

The bank said in a research report that purchasing managers' index readings from both official and private surveys have implied firm activity growth overall. It expected China's GDP growth to reach 6.6% for 2017, news outlets reported.

Goldman Sachs expected China's industrial production to rise 6.4% in March, slightly higher than the 6.3% growth for January and February.

Fixed asset investment growth is likely to remain strong, expanding 8.9% in the first three months of the year, unchanged from that in the first two months, according to Goldman Sachs.

It expected weaker auto sales to continue weighing on the country's retail sales, which may increase 9.4% in March, slowing from the 9.5% growth registered in the first two months.

The bank said growth of the country's consumer price index, a main gauge of inflation, may rebound to 1.3% in March from 0.8% in February as distortions from the Chinese New Year effect disappeared, Xinhua reported.

In the fourth quarter of 2016, China's economy grew 6.8% year on year. The Chinese government has targeted growth of around 6.5% this year.

The country is scheduled to release its first-quarter economic data, including GDP growth, fixed asset investment, industrial output and retail sales, on April 17.

BSI Contracts

A large-scale, independent survey from the Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business in Beijing sheds new light on the current state of the Chinese economy.

The most prominent change revealed in CKGSB’s large-scale quarterly survey of around 2,000 companies from China’s industrial sector was a significant rise in product prices in 2016 Q4, with production costs seen as the main driving factor.

Meanwhile, the survey’s overall Business Sentiment Index stood at 46, indicating a slight contraction, while investment remained sluggish and overcapacity stayed at its historical high.

Described as the first of its kind, the large-scale, micro-level quarterly company survey, authored by CKGSB Professor of Finance Gan Jie, is based on stratified random sampling by industry, region and size from China’s National Bureau of Statistics’ company database, with around 2,000 firms responding to her survey each quarter.

With much official data widely questioned, her results shed light on how the industrial sector is truly coping and what types of reforms are needed.

Commenting on the survey’s results, Prof Gan Jie said: “2016 was a difficult year for the industrial economy. The BSI stayed at 46 for four consecutive quarters, marking a continued, if slight, contraction. This is a result of sluggish investment.

"The main theme of the industrial economy in 2017 will still be the reduction of overcapacity, while inflation and cost rises should be carefully watched. Against this background of overcapacity, it remains our view that a loosening of monetary policy would not revive the industrial economy.”

In recent years, China has focused on upgrading its industrial sector: automation now plays an increasingly important role, but the human cost is real. Based on the size distribution of firms with employment reduction and the number of industrial workers in total, the report estimates that a total of 5.5 million jobs were lost in 2016.

Forex Reserves Inch Up

China’s March foreign exchange reserves maintain an upward momentum, following its triumphant rebound above the $3 trillion mark in February, ATimes reported.

A steadying yuan helped staunch capital outflows and fluctuations in the currency market lifted the value of the stockpile.

The reserves, which are the largest in the world, rose by $3.96 billion in March to $3.0091 trillion, a modest gain from $3.0051 trillion at the end of February, according to data released by the People’s Bank of China on Friday. Analysts polled by Bloomberg had expected a $5.9 billion growth in March.

The yuan remained steady against the US dollar in March, when the yuan rose 0.29%.

 

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