China reports the country’s fastest economic growth rate in seven years. The country’s GDP growth hit 6.9% in 201,7 marking the first time economic growth has grown since 2010.
“The national economy has maintained the momentum of stable and sound development and exceeded the expectation with the economic vitality, impetus and potential released and the stability, coordination and sustainability strengthened. The economy has achieved stable and healthy development,” claims China’s National Bureau of Statistics.
Exports were a major driving force behind the economy’s growth, with companies sourcing and importing goods at a rate of 11%. Imports and exports grew at a rate of 14.2% between 2016 and 2017.
China’s trade surplus grew to $447 billion.
China’s growth rate is about 66% of the United States, with the South China Morning Post claiming that China, the world’s second-largest economy, is growing at a rate that could overtake the U.S. economy. Projections have China overtaking the United States as the world’s largest economy within the next decade.
The country’s population was reported as 1.39 billion people at the end of the year. The country’s per capita disposable income was around $4,044 in 2017, a rise of nearly 9% over 2016 prices. Real increase, after deducting price factors, was listed at 7.3%.
Income disparity remained high, with rural households earning $2,091 and city households earning $5,667. Rural income rose at a slightly higher rate than city income last year, but still remains much lower.
Beijing’s target expansion rate for the year was 6.5%. The faster-than-expected rate of economic growth is expected to fuel investments in the country. Some investors and economists suggest that the country’s GDP is much weaker than the country is reporting.
Mongolia and Tianjin both admitted last month that their economic figures were overstated in 2016.
China’s economy in 2018 may be impacted by the government’s efforts to increase air quality and reduce risky debts. The report shows that GDP growth for the last three months of the year was at 6.8%, higher than expected.
China introduced anti-pollution measures in 28 cities last year. The measures are expected to negatively impact economic growth in the short-term. Factories have been shut down or have had their production levels scaled back to meet air pollution requirements. Households have also been impacted by the measure. Households have been asked to replace coal with natural gas or electricity.
Millions of residents were left without heating that led to a temporary abandonment of measures related to household heating.
Investment in infrastructure by the government further fueled the country’s growth.
Economists cite several local governments in China that have reported faking GDP numbers to fit into the country’s “national picture.” Skeptics claim that the country’s stability and figures are too close to government targets to be believable.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reports that China’s debt levels have soared and are now 234% of the country’s total output. IMF reports suggest that China should focus on improving bank finances rather than concentrate on growth.
Beijing promises to leverage and cut their debts with a focus on local, government debts. The country has also promised to repay their bonds in a timely manner in 2018.