Business / Economy

Time for all to embrace economic "new normal"

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-10-23 10:22

BEIJING -- China's economic growth slowed to a five-year low of 7.3 percent in the third quarter, raising concerns of missed targets. But there is no need for a fuss over an expected slowdown as the country aims to trade short-term pain for more sustainable growth momentum in the long run.

The slowest quarterly growth since Q1 of 2009 makes it likely China will grow in the lower range of the annual target of around 7.5 percent, missing the target for the first time in 15 years.

But over-interpretation is unnecessary. The slowdown is understandable.

In addition to a complex and changing external environment, the world's second-largest economy faces combined internal downward pressure from a natural deceleration in growth, painful economic restructuring and the hangover of previous stimulus policies, all of which proved to be dragging down the once breakneck growth.

The Chinese leadership is fine with the lackluster performance. Premier Li Keqiang has reiterated that authorities will tolerate growth slightly below target as they try to shift the economy from one led by exports and investment to a more sustainable model driven by consumption and innovation.

But slower growth won't herald a hard landing. The Chinese economy is still operating within a reasonable range as the employment and inflation situation are generally stable.

Chinese policymakers consider new jobs and the consumer price index (CPI) to be the most important indicators for judging whether the economy has slid out of the "reasonable range," a phrase first used by Premier Li in November 2013.

More than 10 million new jobs were created in the first nine months, a figure that beat the government's full-year target, while a CPI increase of 2.1 percent was lower than the government's full-year inflation control target of 3.5 percent.

In fact, the fundamentals of the Chinese economy are still good and the growth outlook is still upbeat, as some positive and profound changes are under way.

Emerging engines like a surge of high-tech start-ups, a booming modern service sector and more affordable housing projects will continue to power China's reform and growth.

Actually, the fruits of the rebalancing act are already visible. Wage growth continued to rise steadily and the job market remains tight, according to official data. Meanwhile, growth in median income continued to outpace nominal GDP growth, meaning more dividends from growth were shared with the average household, which will support consumption.

China's industrial production growth picked up to a higher-than-expected 8 percent year on year in September after a slump in August thanks to a slew of mini-stimulus measures. Energy consumption per unit of GDP dropped 4.6 percent year on year, signalling progress for more efficient and environmentally friendly development.

However, calls for more aggressive stimulus measures continue to pop up from overseas analysts who fear the world's major growth engine may lose steam and derail the global economy.

In fact, 7.4-percent GDP growth for the first nine months is remarkable worldwide. It's unfair to expect China to be Atlas, the primordial Titan in Greek mythology who held up the celestial spheres alone.

Despite a weakening property market and prolonged industrial deflation, China is unlikely to take broad-based counter-cyclical measures to stimulate the economy for a short-lived boost, and more targeted measures are expected to fine tune future growth.

It's time for all to get used to China's "new normal." The country has entered an era of medium-speed growth between 7 percent and 8 percent. It is time to update China's growth story with new thinking.

China has outgrown its days of fascination with GDP growth numbers and is determined to seek balanced and sustainable growth despite short-term pains. Only in this way can China's growth benefit the world economy more and longer.

Time for all to embrace economic

Time for all to embrace economic

Weak inflation makes more room for policy change China's GDP in Q3 grows 7.3%

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