Ladies and gentlemen, good morning. Welcome to this press conference held by the State Council Information Office. Today, we are delighted to be able to invite Mr. Mao Shengyong, spokesperson of the National Bureau of Statistics, to brief us on China's economic performance in the first quarter. He will also answer your questions. Now, let's welcome Mr. Mao to give his briefing.
Ladies and gentlemen, friends from the media. Good morning.
Please allow me to brief you on China's economy. I'll answer your questions later.
China's economy did well in the first quarter.
So far this year, China's economy has maintained the good momentum in the latter half of last year, with steady progress. More and more positive changes have taken place, and major economic indices were better than we expected. We have made a good start, laying a solid foundation for completing the annual growth targets.
Preliminary statistics show that national GDP reached 18.07 trillion yuan in the first quarter, growing 6.9 percent calculated at constant prices. The added value achieved by the primary, secondary and tertiary sectors was 865.4 billion yuan, 7.00 trillion yuan and 10.20 trillion yuan respectively, representing growth of 3.0 percent, 6.4 percent and 7.7 percent year-on-year. From a month-on-month perspective, national GDP grew 1.3 percent overall.
1. Agricultural production was stable, with an improved mix of agricultural products.
According to a survey of 110,000 farmers nationwide, the rice planting area targeted this year decreased 0.3 percent, wheat decreased 0.8 percent and corn decreased 4.0 percent; soybean increased 8.1 percent, but cotton declined 0.7 percent. Currently, winter wheat is growing well, with 84.8 percent of the fields reaching either the Class I or Class II standard.
In the first quarter, the amount of pork, beef, mutton and poultry meat totaled 22.49 million tons, up 0.2 percent on an annual basis. The figure for pork was 14.68 million tons, up 0.2 percent. The number of hogs totaled 410.95 million, up 0.1 percent on an annual basis. Of them, 191.49 million hogs were slaughtered, up 0.2 percent.
2. Industrial production accelerated with fast growing corporate profits.
In the first quarter, the total added value of industrial enterprises above designated size registered a year-on-year increase of 6.8 percent in real terms. This was 1.0 percentage points higher than the same period of last year, or 0.8 percentage points higher than the whole of last year. An analysis by types of ownership showed that the state holding enterprises saw a gain of 6.2 percent; collective enterprises were up 0.5 percent; share-holding enterprises achieved a 6.9 percent increase; and enterprises funded by foreign investors or investors from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan rose 6.9 percent. The added value of the mining industry fell 2.4 percent year-on-year; manufacturing rose 7.4 percent and the production and supply of electricity, heat, gas and water saw a gain of 8.9 percent. The industrial structure continued to improve. The added value of the high-tech and equipment manufacturing industrial sector grew by 13.4 percent and 12.0 percent respectively, 6.6 percentage points and 5.2 percentage points higher than that of industrial enterprises above designated size, or respectively 2.6 percentage points and 2.5 percentage points higher than last year. The sales-output ratio of industrial enterprises above designated size was 97.2 percent. In March, the total added value of industrial enterprises above designated size increased by 7.6 percent year-on-year, 1.3 percentage points higher than the first two months, or up by 0.83 percent month-on-month.
In the first two months, total profits made by industrial enterprises above designated size stood at 1.02 trillion yuan, up 31.5 percent year-on-year, 23.0 percentage points higher than that of last year. The profit rate from their primary activities was 5.92 percent, 0.8 percentage point higher than the same period of last year.
3. Services sector grew at a relatively fast pace with high prosperity index.
In the first quarter, the index of services production increased by 8.3 percent year-on-year, 0.1 percentage point higher than the same period last year. Information transmission, software and information technology services, and transport, storage and postal services delivered a strong performance. The growth of wholesale and retail trade, and the accommodation and catering industry picked up speed. In March, their index of services production grew by 8.3 percent, 0.1 percentage point higher than that of the first two months, the same rate as the same period of 2016.
In March, the business activity index for services stood at 54.2 percent, 1.0 percentage point higher than the previous month and 1.1 percentage points higher than the same month last year, a continued high on the prosperity index. Specifically, the business activity index for sectors such as retail, air transport, postal services, internet and software information technology services, monetary and financial services, capital market services and insurance stayed within the relatively prosperous range of over 55.0 percent.
4. Investment in fixed assets witnessed steady growth and the available floor space of commercial buildings for sale continued to decrease.
In the first quarter, the total investment in fixed assets (excluding rural households) was 9.38 trillion yuan, up 9.2 percent year-on-year, 1.1 percentage points higher than that of last year, and 0.3 percentage point up on the first two months of this year. Of the total, investment by state holding enterprises reached 3.31 trillion yuan, an increase of 13.6 percent; private investment reached 5.73 trillion yuan, up 7.7 percent, 1.0 percentage point higher than in the first two months of the year, accounting for 61.1 percent of total investment. Investment in the primary industry reached 233.5 billion yuan, up 19.8 percent; that in the secondary industry was 3.51 trillion yuan, up 4.2 percent, of which the figure for manufacturing was 2.93 trillion yuan, up 5.8 percent; the investment in the tertiary industry was 5.63 trillion yuan, up 12.2 percent, of which, that in infrastructure was 1.90 trillion yuan, a gain of 23.5 percent. Investment in the high-tech industry grew by 22.6 percent, 13.4 percentage points higher than the growth rate of total investment. Funds in place for investment in fixed assets were 10.61 trillion yuan, down 2.9 percent year-on-year, and 5.1 percentage points lower than the first two months. The total planned investment in newly projects was 6.20 trillion yuan, a year-on-year decrease of 6.5 percent. Investment in fixed assets (excluding rural households) in March witnessed a month-on-month growth rate of 0.87 percent.
In the first quarter, total investment in real estate development was 1.93 trillion yuan, up 9.1 percent year-on-year, 2.2 percentage points higher than last year, and 0.2 percentage point higher than the first two months of this year. Of the total, the investment in residential buildings went up by 11.2 percent. Floor space of houses under construction was 315.6 million square meters, up 11.6 percent year-on-year. Specifically, the floor space of residential buildings newly started increased by 18.1 percent. The floor space of commercial buildings sold reached 290.35 million square meters, up 19.5 percent; that that of residential buildings went up by 16.9 percent. The sales of commercial buildings amounted 2.32 trillion yuan, up 25.1 percent. Of this total, the sales of residential buildings grew by 20.2 percent. The land space purchased by real estate developers was 37.82 million square meters, up 5.7 percent year-on-year. At the end of March, the floor space of commercial buildings for sale was 688.1 million square meters, down by 17.45 million square meters compared with the end of February. Funds in place of real estate development enterprises were 3.57 trillion yuan, up 11.5 percent year-on-year.