Business / Economy

Consumption becomes key driver of China's economy

By Chen Jia (China Daily) Updated: 2015-02-27 07:05

The flourishing rate of consumption, however, may not be strong enough to resist headwinds from the ongoing property downturn, and the country's GDP growth is likely to continue to drop below 7 percent in the first quarter after it retreated to a 24-month low of 7.4 percent in 2014.

International ratings agency Standard & Poor's announced on Thursday it had cut China's GDP forecast to 6.9 percent this year.

"Fixed-asset investment should still remain the key driving force of China's economy although consumption is playing a more important role," NBS director Ma Jiantang has said.

Economists are predicting investment will weaken further in 2015, down from last year's 15.3 percent growth rate.

"Infrastructure investment should provide a key offset against the property slowdown, as the central government ramps up funding support to offset waning local government spending capacity," the UBS note said.

Experts continue to speculate that the government may further ease monetary policy, including cutting the benchmark interest rate and the reserve requirement ratio as early as March to increase market liquidity and reduce financing costs.

The National Development and Reform Commission, meanwhile, may accelerate approvals for new infrastructure construction projects to boost fixed-asset investment, they said.

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