China's H1 economic data

China's economy has shown strong momentum for the first half of the year, with GDP expanding at higher-than-expected 6.9 percent year-on-year, paving ways for the country to strengthen reforms.

China's GDP grew at a faster-than-expected 6.9 percent year-on-year in the first two quarters, well above the government's target for the year of 6.5 percent.

Key indicators, such as industrial output, retail sales and fixed-asset investment, remained at high levels, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

Robin Xing, chief China economist at Morgan Stanley, credited the robust growth in the first half of the year to export recovery as well as the rebound of private investment in the service and manufacturing sectors.

"China's pressure from growth stabilization has eased greatly and it will pave way for its macroeconomic maneuvers to upgrade its economic structure and contain risk," Cheng Shi, chief economist at ICBC International, told China Daily.

Xing projected the growth may be slightly slower in the second half of the year but will remain robust.

"We are optimistic due to the government's determination to push deleveraging and control the debt level in an orderly and gradual manner to avoid liquidity risks," Xing said.

1GDP up 6.9%

China's economy expanded faster-than-expected in the first six months, with gross domestic product (GDP) rising 6.9 percent year-on-year to about 38.2 trillion yuan ($5.6 trillion), data from the NBS showed.

The reading is well above the government's target of 6.5 percent for 2017.

2CPI up 1.4%

China's consumer price index (CPI), a main gauge of inflation, rose 1.4 percent on average from January to June this year, according to the NBS.

And the figure in June stood at 1.5 percent, flat from the previous month but an increase from April's 1.2 percent and March's 0.9 percent. However, the CPI declined 0.2 percent month-on-month due to lower food prices, said the bureau.

The core CPI, excluding food and energy prices, increased by 2.2 percent year-on-year in June, compared with 2.1 percent in May.

3PMI at 51.5

The purchasing managers' index, or PMI, stood at 51.5 in the first half, up 1.7 percentage points from the same period last year.

In June, PMI arrived at 51.7, up 0.5 percentage points from May.

A PMI reading above 50 indicates expansion.

4Industrial output up 6.9%

China's value-added industrial output grew 6.9 percent year-on-year in the first half of the year, an improvement on the 6.8 percent for the first quarter, and the 6 percent registered for the same period of 2016.

In June, industrial-production growth increased to 7.6 percent, after staying at 6.5 percent in April and May.

The faster expansion of industrial output has added to signs of continued stabilization in the wider economy.

5Fixed-asset investment up 8.6%

China's fixed-asset investment grew 8.6 percent year-on-year in the first six months of this year, down 0.6 percentage point from that recorded during the first quarter.

The real estate investment rose 8.5 percent year-on-year on the first half, down 0.6 percentage points from the first quarter.

6Retail sales up 10.4%

China's retail sales rose 10.4 percent year-on-year in the first six months, higher than 10 percent registered in the first quarter.

In June, retail sales increased 11 percent year-on-year, up 0.3 percentage points from May.

Online retail sales increased 33.3 percent year-on-year in the first six months, accelerating from 32.1 percent in the first quarter.

7Imports & exports up 19.6%

China’s total imports and exports rose to 13.14 trillion yuan ($1.94 trillion) in first half of 2017, up 19.6 percent year-on-year, the fastest expansion since the second half of 2011, customs data showed.

From January to June, exports in yuan-denominated terms surged 15 percent year-on-year to 7.21 trillion yuan, while imports went up to 5.93 trillion yuan, increasing by 25.7 percent in the same period.

The customs authority attributed the growth to such factors as a lower comparison basis, government support, and rising global demand.

8M2 continues a downward trend

Chinese banks extended 7.97 trillion yuan of new yuan loans in the first half of the year, while broad money supply continued to slow, the country's central bank data showed.

The lending volume registers growth of 436 billion yuan from the same period last year, according to the data.

The outstanding yuan-denominated loans stood at 115 trillion yuan, up 12.9 percent as of the end of June.

The M2, a broad measure of the money supply that covers cash in circulation and all deposits, expanded 9.4 percent from a year earlier, slowing from a 9.6 percent growth recorded by the end of May, according to the data.

9FDI stabilizes and ODI slumps

In the first half of 2017, foreign direct investment (FDI) into China was down by 0.1 percent, with inflow of 441.54 billion yuan, maintaining relatively stability, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

And non-financial outbound direct investment (ODI) dropped 45.8 percent year-on-year to $48.19 billion during the same time. But ODI in June reached $13.6 billion, the highest since December 2016 and with narrowed decrease of 11.3 percent year-on-year.

As FDI continued to go to high-tech manufacturing and services, the ministry regarded the slump in ODI as a result of continued improvement in China's economy, rising uncertainties abroad and government measures to curb irrational investment, as well as a high comparison basis from last year.

10Per capita disposable income grows faster than GDP

China's average per capita disposable income grew 8.8 percent year-on-year to 12,932 yuan ($1,913) in the first half of the year, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed.

Such growth was 7.3 percent deducting inflation, still above the country's GDP growth of 6.9 percent in the first two quarters.

The healthy momentum will help boost the government's efforts to shift the economy away from fixed-asset investment and low-quality export to more consumption and service driven.

Breakdown figures showed that urban residents' per capital real disposable income grew 6.5 percent year-on-year to 18,322 yuan in the first half, while that of rural residents reached 6,562 yuan, up 7.4 percent after deducting price factors.

117.35 million new jobs created

China has seen continuous employment growth in the first half of the year, thanks to an expanding service sector and manufacturing upgrades, official data showed.

Some 7.35 million new jobs were created in urban regions in the first six months, up 180,000 from the same period last year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

China has fulfilled nearly 67 percent of its yearly target of creating 11 million new jobs, according to the Government Work Report.

The surveyed unemployment rate in 31 major Chinese cities stayed below 5 percent in June, said Xing Zhihong, spokesperson for the National Bureau of Statistics, at a news conference.

12Experts' views

There are a number of encouraging signs. This includes stronger than expected numbers on economic growth and greater confidence in the business community.

Relative to 2015 and 2016, we are particularly encouraged by recent macroeconomic and regulatory policies aimed at bringing debt under control.

- John Litwack, lead economist for China at the World Bank

One of the most favorable drivers for the Chinese economy in the first half of year has been PPI (Producer Price Index) inflation, which has helped to support strong growth in industrial profits in various industries. These include mining, equipment manufacturing and consumer goods.

Looking at the second half of the year, we expect economic growth to moderate from the first six months. Indeed, data from the second quarter indicate moderation in industrial production growth and fixed investment activity.

- Jing Ulrich, vice-chairman of Asia-Pacific at JP Morgan

The most impressive feature in the first half has been the degree of coordination and uniformity from authorities in dealing with imbalances in the financial markets.

This has had the desired impact on the real economy, and is a huge step in the right direction in ensuring that medium-and longer-term growth is placed on a more stable footing.

- Jeremy Stevens, China economist at Standard Bank

The most encouraging sign at the macro level was that growth held up yet inflationary pressures declined and liquidity moderated. This means potential growth levels could be stronger than previously estimated.

In terms of growth drivers, there are signs of a rebound in private business activity, which is not government directed. This is different from rebounds we saw during the past five years, which were mostly government fueled and infrastructure focused.

- Song Yu, chief China economist at Goldman Sachs

Strong consumer spending, continued technology innovation and ongoing financial reforms will support China's growth this year. It will also build a solid foundation for doubling per capita income by 2020 from 2010 levels.

- Glenn Stevens, chief executive officer at GAIN Capital

Data for the first six months highlighted how China has emerged from a period of industrial deflation. But the stronger than expected recovery in PPI (Producer Price Index) also caused some concern that the economy could overheat and that industrial inflation would spill over to the consumer segment.

Neither risk happened and it's likely we have seen the peak of PPI in this current cycle.

- Catherine Yeung, investment director at Fidelity International

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