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Chinese economy firming, recovery sustainable: Official

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-04-26 16:51

BEIJING - A senior official on Wednesday reiterated confidence in the Chinese economy, saying the improving trend is strengthening and recovery should be sustainable.

In an interview with Xinhua, deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission Ning Jizhe highlighted an optimizing structure and shifting growth drivers when explaining 6.9 percent GDP growth in the first quarter.

The growth was slightly up from 6.8 percent in the previous quarter, with 77.2 percent of it was driven by consumption, 12.6 percentage points higher than the overall 2016 level.

"Consumption has become the primary driving force for growth," said Ning, who is also head of the National Bureau of Statistics.

The service sector accounted for 56.5 percent of GDP, a sign of an optimizing industrial structures, he said.

New growth impetus is coming from sectors such as high-tech, equipment manufacturing and strategic emerging industry, all of which generated double-digit growth and outperformed the economy as a whole, according to Ning.

New opportunities in traditional industries and emerging business models, such as the sharing economy, are also driving growth.

The five major macro indicators - employment, growth rate, inflation, international balance sheets and incomes - all point to a stabilizing economy, Ning said, while warning against being overly optimistic as many challenges and difficult reforms still lie ahead.

GDP growth rate is not the sole standard of economic performance, Ning stressed.

"As long as the job market and inflation remain steady and incomes keep improving, it does not matter the growth is a touch higher or lower," he said.

China has set the 2017 growth target at around 6.5 percent, but hopes for better if possible.

On the risk front, Ning underscored the persistent problems of industrial overcapacity, risks in the property and financial sectors and uneven regional growth.

Industrial investment growth, although slightly up at 4.9 percent in the first quarter, is still low and shows the market has yet to fully recover, he added.

To put the economy on a steadier footing, China should stand firm on restructuring and reforms and gradually dissolve risks in the process, Ning said.

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