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China's economy grows by nearly 7% last year

China's economy grows by nearly 7% last year article image

China's economy grew by 6.9% last year according to official data.

This is the first time in seven years the pace of growth has picked up – beating Beijing's official annual expansion target of about 6.5%.

The better-than-expected data will be music to the ears of Australian exporters and investors globally.

But many experts believe the GDP numbers are much weaker than the official figures suggest.

This month alone, the governments of Inner Mongolia and of the large industrial city of Tianjin have admitted their economic numbers for 2016 were overstated.

Taking the figures at face value, the 2017 growth rate is China's highest in two years. And it represents the first time the economy has expanded faster than the previous year since 2010.

However, as Beijing ramps up efforts to reduce risky debt and to increase air quality, analysts said this may impact 2018 growth.

Anti-pollution measures

The data released last week showed that in the last three months of 2017, the economy grew at an annual rate of 6.8% – slightly higher than analysts had been expecting.

China's strict anti-pollution measures, which were introduced across 28 cities last year, are also expected to hurt economic growth in the short term.

The measures have included shutting down or cutting back production at factories in heavy industry like cement and steel.

Households have also been asked to switch to natural gas and electricity from coal, in an effort to curb pollution.

However, this policy left millions without proper heating, and so was temporarily abandoned in December.

Chinese officials have said Beijing’s air quality improved sharply in the winter of 2017 and heralded their efforts as a “new reality” for the country. 

Source: BBC News

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