Key barometer of consumption rises 5.5 percent year-on-year in September
China is on track for a stimulus-led cyclical recovery with the latest economic indicators showing signs of stabilization despite downward pressure, economists said.
Their comments came after data from the National Bureau of Statistics offered a clearer picture of China's continued recovery trend, as the country's GDP grew by 5.2 percent to 91.3 trillion yuan ($12.5 trillion) in the January-September period after a 5.5 percent growth in the first half.
China's GDP grew 4.9 percent year-on-year in the third quarter after a 6.3 percent rise in the second quarter, the bureau said.
Sheng Laiyun, deputy head of the NBS, said the first three quarters' performance has laid a solid foundation for meeting the annual growth target of around 5 percent.
"To achieve the annual growth target, growth should be more than 4.4 percent in the fourth quarter," Sheng said at a news conference in Beijing on Wednesday.
Looking ahead, Sheng said growth will likely pick up in the fourth quarter given the continued recovery trend and stimulus policy measures taking effect gradually.
"We are very confident in achieving the annual target of around 5 percent."
Louise Loo, lead economist at British think tank Oxford Economics, said the latest data confirmed a stimulus-led growth narrative in the third quarter.
"As easing measures gathered pace around the end of July, economic activity broadly improved in the subsequent months," Loo said.
Figures released by the NBS showed China's industrial output grew by 4.5 percent in September from a year earlier, unchanged from August. And China's retail sales, a key barometer of consumer spending, rose 5.5 percent year-on-year in September, up from the 4.6 percent growth in August.
Justin Yifu Lin, dean of the Institute of New Structural Economics at Peking University, said unremitting technological innovation and industrial upgrading in China will ensure increases in productivity, and with that, household incomes as well as business profits will continuously increase in the country.
Lin, a former senior vice-president and chief economist at the World Bank, told China Daily in an exclusive interview that he expects the Chinese economy to grow by 5.5 percent, or even 6 percent, this year, and continue to be a major driver of global growth.
"As long as we continue to maintain our growth and expand opening-up, the Chinese economy will be an opportunity for the development, growth and job creation of other countries," he said.
However, seeing short-term downward risks to China's economic growth amid renewed weakness in the property sector, a new report by the International Monetary Fund expects China's economy to expand by 5 percent in 2023 and 4.2 percent in 2024, a downward revision of 0.2 and 0.3 percentage points, respectively, from April.
Krishna Srinivasan, director of the IMF's Asia and Pacific Department, underscored the need for a comprehensive strategy to address problems in the property sector, including making sure that all prefinanced homes are built and property developers properly restructured, which will help revive consumer confidence and boost consumption.