The Chinese economy has grown by seven percent in the second quarter, outstripping analysts’ predictions. The rate of growth in the world’s second-largest economy is slowing, but still remains robust.
Slowing growth in key areas like foreign trade, state investment and domestic demand had prompted economists to predict a year-on-year GDP increase of just under 7 percent for the April-June quarter.
The figure, released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Wednesday, matched first-quarter growth in China exactly. The government has officially set 7 percent as its target for GDP growth this year.
“We are aware that the domestic and external economic conditions are still complicated, the global economic recovery is slow and tortuous and the foundation for the stabilization of China’s economy needs to be further consolidated,” NBS spokesman Sheng Laiyun told reporters.
However, “the major indicators of the second quarter showed that the growth was stabilized and ready to pick up, the economy developed with positive changes and the vitality of the economic development was strengthened,” Sheng added.
Industrial output, including production at factories, workshops and mines also rose by 6.8 percent in June compared to 6.1 percent in May, the NBS said.
Tough transition, stock market fluctuating
The robust growth comes despite a difficult economic year for China. Figures released on Monday showed a dip in foreign trade in the first half of the year – with exports up slightly but imports well down. Public investment, for years the driver of double-digit percentage growth in China, is down as the government seeks to rely more on consumer demand – itself slow to pick up. In recent weeks, the Shanghai stock market has been falling sharply, albeit after a huge boom in months leading up to the crash.
In response, the government in Beijing has rolled out major stimulus measures in recent months, including four central bank cuts to the base interest rate since November 2014.
The data’s release coincides with German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel’s two-day visit to China; Gabriel was to meet President Xi Jinping later on Wednesday.