A cargo ship unloads containers at Lianyungang port in Jiangsu province. [Photo/China.org.cn]
At the recently concluded Central Economic Work Conference, mapping out economic policies for 2017, the current Chinese economy was analyzed as "stabilizing and improving," while the tone set for next year's economy is "maintaining stability while seeking progress."
Key economic figures for 2016 point to stable growth in 2017, when the all-important 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) will be held while the country's reforms keep pressing ahead.
GDP growth meets target
The Chinese economy grew by 6.7 percent for the first three quarters of 2016, and the growth rate of the entire year is expected to achieve that level, meeting the target of 6.5 percent to 7 percent set earlier in the year.
China aims to double its 2010 GDP and per-capita income of residents both in cities and rural areas by 2020, which means the GDP growth from now on should be at least 6.5 percent. The growth rate of 6.7 percent, therefore, lays a good foundation for meeting the 2020 target.
The Chinese economy has already hit bottom and is showing signs of stabilization, said Qiu Xiaohua, chief economist of Minsheng Securities.
Key economic indicators rebound
Apart from the growth rate, other key economic indicators have also rebounded.
China's Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) has been expanding ever since August. The manufacturing PMI came in at 51.7 percent in November, the highest in two years. The non-manufacturing PMI reached 54.7 percent in November, highest since July, 2014.
The Producer Price Index (PPI) also gained. It rose by 0.1 percent in September for the first time since early 2012. The PPI in November increased by 3.3 percent year on year, a record in the past five years.
The continuing rebound of PPI and PMI show the Chinese manufacturing industry is fairly active and that demand for manufactured goods is increasing, said Lian Ping, chief economist of Bank of Communications, who added that it would encourage businesses to increase investment.
Exports and imports have also improved in the first three quarters. Exports rose 5.9 percent year on year in November, while imports continued to pick up steam, increasing 13 percent,highest in three years.
The main business profit of companies with annual revenue of more than 20 million yuan (US$2.89 million) rose by 8.6 percent from January to October, the fastest growth since August, 2014.
'Livelihood indicators' improve
Livelihood-related data have also shown signs of stabilization and improvement. The government increased spending by more than 14 percent in the first three quarters on social security and employment, medical care and family planning, affordable housing and other key welfare areas.
Per capita disposable income in the first three quarters grew by 6.3 percent, outpacing CPI. The income gap between urban and rural residents continued to shrink to 2.82.
A total of 12.49 million jobs were created in urban areas from January to November, meeting, ahead of schedule, the target of creating 10 million new jobs this year. The urban registered unemployment rate remained below five percent for three months in a row.
No 'hard landing' in 2017
As more signs point to stabilization, the Chinese economy is widely believed to be in no danger of a "hard landing" in 2017.
A report by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences predicts the Chinese economy will grow by around 6.5 percent next year, jobs and prices would remain stable and there would not be any hard landing.
The World Bank and the Asian Development Bank in recent months have projected the Chinese economy to grow by 6.5 percent and 6.4 percent next year.