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Tuesday, January 10, 2017, 20:30

Top economic planner: China's economy likely to grow 6.7%in 2016

By xinhua

Top economic planner: China's economy likely to grow 6.7%in 2016
In this picture taken on Mar 6, 2016, Xu Shaoshi, chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, gestures during a press conference of the fourth session of China's 12th National People's Congress (NPC) in Beijing. Xu told a media briefing on Jan 10, 2017, that China's economic growth in 2016 was expected to be around 6.7 percent. (Xinhua / Chen Junqing)

BEIJING -- China's economy was estimated to have grown about 6.7 percent in 2016 , the country's top economic planner said Tuesday.

China had contributed 1.2 percentage points, or over 30 percent, of the world's economic growth in 2016

The world's second largest economy registered the same growth rate in the first, second and third quarter last year, Xu Shaoshi, director of the National Development and Reform Commission, told a news briefing.

Consumption accounted for 71 percent of growth in 2016, up 13 percentage points, Xu said.

He said the economy would exceed 70 trillion yuan (about US$10.1 trillion), an increase of 5 trillion yuan, and that the growth was remarkable among major economies.

Citing a report by the International Monetary Fund, he said that China had contributed 1.2 percentage points, or over 30 percent, of the world's economic growth in 2016, while the United States had accounted for 0.3 percentage points.

China's remarkable growth came along with initial results the nation's supply-side structural reform has delivered, which started to provide new impetus for economic growth.

"China has met this year's target of reducing 45 million tonnes of steel and 250 million tonnes of coal production capacity ahead of schedule ," Xu said.

He said that steel firms under the China Iron and Steel Industry Association had posted a profit of 33.1 billion yuan (US$4.76 billion) in the first eleven months of 2016 , compared with a loss of 52.9 billion yuan in the same period of 2015.

Xu said that in terms of inventory reduction, China's commercial housing inventory had fallen for ten consecutive months.

The reform, proposed by Chinese policy makers at the end of 2015 to resolve structural imbalances in the economy, has focused on five tasks: cutting industrial capacity, reducing the housing inventory, cutting leverage, lowering corporate costs and improving weak economic links.

Xu said that the government's efforts in these areas had paid off and provided precious experiences for solving deeply-rooted problems in the nation's economy, and that China would embrace a new stage of economic growth.

He said that last year was only a start, and that China was facing a tougher battle in 2017, adding that this year the government would set a higher goal for reducing overcapacity and was determined to shut down "zombie enterprises."

Besides steel and coal industries, he said the Chinese government would target other sectors with low production capacity utilization rates or serious overcapacity issues.

In face of drastic housing price rises in economically strong cities and huge inventories of unsold houses in less developed areas, he said the the government was working on a long-term mechanism to ensure the healthy and stable development of the real estate sector.

China will continue to press ahead with supply-side structural reform in 2017, aiming for tangible results in key reform tasks, according to the the Central Economic Work Conference last month, which set the country's guiding economic policies and priorities for the new year.

"We will adhere to the main theme and take supply-side structural reform to a deeper level," said Xu.

He said this year the government will set a higher goal for reducing overcapacity and is determined to shut down "zombie enterprises."

Besides the steel and coal industries, he said the Chinese government will target other sectors with serious overcapacity issues.

In the face of drastic housing price rises in economically strong cities and huge inventories of unsold houses in less developed areas, he said the the government is working on a long-term mechanism to ensure the healthy and stable development of the real estate sector.

Regulators are also looking out for potential risks brought by "irrational tendencies" amid rapid outbound investment growth and are examining irregularities in such investments, according to Xu.

Xu said both the external and internal conditions for China's economic development in 2017 remain "complicated and grim."

Uncertainty and instability in the world economy are on the rise, and although the domestic economy is stabilizing, there are still outstanding contradictions and issues, he said.

But with further structural reforms, the Chinese government has the "confidence, condition and ability" to ensure the economy operates within a reasonable range, he said.

China is looking forward to working with other countries to better facilitate world economic recovery by promoting structural reforms, globalization, trade liberalization and investment facilitation, the official said.

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