Business

China's economy off to a strong start

BEIJING: China issued upbeat data yesterday showing the economy got off to a strong start in 2017, supported by strong bank lending, a government infrastructure spree and a much-needed resurgence in private investment.

Solid growth is welcome news for China's policymakers as they turn their focus to containing risks from a build-up in debt ahead of a major leadership reshuffle later this year.

But economists are not sure how long the pace can be sustained as the central bank takes a tighter stance on credit and exporters brace for a surge in US protectionism.

Fixed-asset investment rose more strongly than expected in the first two months as growth in private investment more than doubled from last year. Surging demand for steel for new roads, bridges and homes lifted factory output.

China's new loans fell sharply last month from near-record levels the previous month but were still higher than expected.

Fixed-asset investment growth sped up to 8.9 per cent in the first two months from the same period last year, largely due to strong property and infrastructure construction.

Growth in private investment quickened to 6.7 per cent, more than twice the pace of last year, suggesting firms are growing more optimistic. - REUTERS

EconomyChinaTRADING