Business

China's economy set for healthy numbers

BEIJING A flurry of data in coming weeks is expected to show China posted solid economic growth last month, even as the government trimmed its growth target for the year to focus on containing the risks from a rapid build-up in debt.

Export and import growth is expected to hit multi-year highs, according to Reuters polls, adding to views that the global economy is shifting into higher gear and giving China's policymakers more confidence to press ahead on oft-delayed structural reforms.

China's first-quarter economic growth could accelerate to 7 per cent year-on-year, from 6.8 per cent in the last quarter, economists at OCBC wrote in a note yesterday, while adding that the pace may ease beginning in spring.

Reflecting continued strength in its manufacturing sector, and particularly heavy industry, China's producer price index likely rose 7.7 per cent from a year earlier, the sharpest gain in nearly nine years.

China's iron ore and steel prices have been rallying for a year, fuelled by a construction boom, though worries are growing over rising inventories. The country's insatiable demand for resources has helped spur an inflationary pulse in commodities worldwide.

Consumer prices likely rose 1.7 per cent last month, easing from a 2.5 per cent increase in January as food prices normalised following the Chinese New Year celebrations.

Beijing is targeting consumer inflation at 3 per cent this year, unchanged from last year.- REUTERS

ChinaEconomyTRADING