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ECONOMY: Most Aspects Reached or Surpassed Expectations
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Most Aspects Reached or Surpassed Expectations

By Anthony Lawry

BT 201708 Economy 04



BT 201708 Economy 01
According to government statistics from the Chinese government and several analysts following the matter, the Chinese economy in most aspects during the month of July either reached or surpassed expectations set by government officials. China's GDP grew at a faster-than-expected 6.9% year-on-year in the first two quarters, well above the government's target for the year of 6.5%. Furthermore, indicators that are important to measure for determining whether or not the economy is healthy such as industrial output, retail sales and fixed-asset investment, remained at high levels, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

BT 201708 Economy 02
According to centrally measured figures, China's economy expanded faster-than-expected in the first six months, with gross domestic product (GDP) rising 6.9% year-on-year to about 38.2 trillion yuan ($5.6 trillion), data from the NBS showed. As previously stated, this was much higher than the target of 6.5 for the year implying sound macro and microeconomic policy is being implemented despite the economic and political turmoil throughout the world.

BT 201708 Economy 03China's consumer price index (CPI), a main gauge of inflation, rose 1.4% on average from January to June this year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. Furthermore, the figure in June stood at 1.5%, flat from the previous month but an increase from April's 1.2% and March's 0.9%. However, the CPI declined 0.2% month-on-month due to lower food prices, said the bureau. Urban investment in June remained steady with an 8.6 per cent annual growth rate - which was slightly better than what economists had predicted.

As for factory output and retail sales, they came in well ahead of expectations which was at 7.6 and 11 per cent growth respectively. Higher global demand for China's products will help the country contain its massive debt levels which is currently 277 per cent of GDP. While the month of July did not necessarily see these debt levels decrease, the increase in exports will over time help these extremely high levels resolve themselves to a certain degree at least. Furthermore, the purchasing managers' index, or PMI, stood at 51.5 in the first half, up 1.7% from the same period last year.

Also pointing to higher levels of global consumption of Chinese goods is the fact that China's value-added industrial output grew 6.9% year-on-year in the first half of the year. This was clearly an improvement on the 6.8% for the first quarter and the 6% registered for the same period of 2016. In June, industrial-production growth increased to 7.6%, after staying at 6.5% in April and May. The faster expansion of industrial output has largely added to signs of the gradual, but continued stabilization of the Chinese economy at large.

BT 201708 Economy 05Despite the fact that economic data mostly met and in some instances surpassed expectations for the month of July, Chinese markets have been mostly down for the month of July with many reaching the 10% loss threshold met for the continuation of their trading on a day to day basis. Nonetheless, because of these mechanisms that halt trading when a stock falls more than 10%, the losses on these equities was alleviated and a crisis or mass continuous selloff was averted for the moment. However, this information should be understood in the context of the notion that most trading on the stock market towards the end of the second decade of the 21st century is mostly conducted by computer algorithms or algos for short hand. These algos have created a situation in which the Chinese market is not necessarily reflective of the economy since the economic data and stock prices are not looking to be in sync with one another.

Regardless, the economy, overall, is seemingly healthy and is doing better than the downgraded expectations for the month. The most impressive feature of the first half of the year has been the degree of coordination and uniformity from authorities in dealing with imbalances in the financial markets. This has had the desired impact on the real economy, and is a huge step in the right direction in ensuring that medium-and longer-term growth is placed on a more stable footing. growth held up yet inflationary pressures declined and liquidity moderated. This means potential growth levels could be stronger than previously estimated. In terms of growth drivers, there are signs of a rebound in private business activity, which is not government directed. This is different from rebounds we saw during the past five years, which were mostly government fueled and infrastructure focused. Overall, the past month has demonstrated itself to be quite a positive one.

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