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China’s economic growth accelerates to 7.5% in Q2

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Published : 2014-07-16 21:08
Updated : 2014-07-16 21:08

BEIJING (AFP) ― China’s economic growth hit 7.5 percent year-on-year in April-June, official data showed Wednesday, ahead of expectations as the world’s second-largest economy was boosted by government stimulus.

The second-quarter figure announced by the National Bureau of Statistics compared with 7.4 percent in the previous three months and exceeded the median forecast of 7.4 percent in a survey of 17 economists by AFP.

“Generally speaking, China’s economy showed good momentum of stable and moderate growth in the first half-year,” said NBS spokesman Sheng Laiyun.

“However we should keep in mind that the domestic and international economic environment is still complicated and the national economy still faces many challenges.”

The NBS also said China’s economy expanded 7.4 percent in the first half of the year.
A pedestrian walks on a bridge in front of residential buildings at Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city in Tianjin, China. (Bloomberg)

The results come after Beijing introduced a series of policies since April in response to concerns over slowing growth, including tax breaks for small enterprises, targeted infrastructure spending and the encouragement of lending in rural areas and to small companies.

Wendy Chen, Shanghai-based economist with Nomura International, told AFP: “A series of policy easing measures have taken effect, and the economy has already bottomed out and recovered.”

Growth would be “slightly better” in the second half of the year, she said, but added: “We expect more policy easing in the third quarter, in all aspects including the property sector.”

Despite the short-term stabilizing effect of the efforts, which economists have dubbed “mini-stimulus,” some analysts remain pessimistic about the full-year outlook given persistent concerns over the country’s huge but troubled property sector.

According to the NBS statement, most key property indicators declined in the first half, with the area of homes sold falling 7.8 percent on-year and home sales values down 9.2 percent.

Ma Xiaoping, Beijing-based economist for British bank HSBC, cited the real-estate sector as the “main downward risk in the second half” and noted that the property investment growth rate showed a significant decline.

“If this trend continues, we will need to see whether infrastructure construction and manufacturing can offset the impact from the property industry decline,” she told AFP.

The NBS’s Sheng acknowledged that the property market correction will add to economic pressures in the short term.

“But in the long term, it will be conducive to the healthy development of the real-estate industry itself as well as the healthy and sustainable development of the national economy,” he said.

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