Nov. 14 – Xinhua reported Nov. 13 on third quarter 2017 results for the Chinese economy, as presented by Zhang Liqun, researcher with the State Council’s Development Research Center.
The year-on-year overall growth rate in China for the first three quarters of 2017 was 6.9%, which was higher than expected. Most interesting is that “the high-tech and equipment manufacturing sectors posted stellar growth in the first three quarters, with output up 13.4% and 11.6% respectively,” Xinhua reported. Investment in high-tech manufacturing rose even more dramatically, by 18.4%, up from 11.7% for the same period in 2016. Job creation is correspondingly strong: China created almost 11 million jobs in the first three quarters of 2017—300,000 more than the same period last year. Official unemployment in Chinese cities stands at 3.95%, the lowest level since 2008.
The Xinhua article also quoted the chief economist at the Bank of China, Cao Yuanzheng, who said that it is of vital importance to contain financial risks, including “countering debt, shadow banking and asset bubbles.” Even Moody’s had to admit, in a recent research note, that “a stronger policy focus on financial sector regulation should continue to restrain the growth of shadow banking activities, help mitigate asset risks for the banks, and address some key imbalances in the financial system.” On poverty reduction, which is the central concern of President Xi Jinping and the entire national leadership, Vice Premier Wang Yang presided over a meeting of the State Council’s group on poverty reduction on Nov. 13. Wang emphasized that they had to be focused on “enhancing a sense of mission and crisis awareness, and targeting problems to fulfill the Party’s promise to the Chinese people and the international community,” Xinhua wrote. (The fact that Wang presented this policy as a commitment to the international community is especially notable.) Wang added that to meet these goals it was necessary to train local authorities, “stressing the importance of carrying out research and investigation, and averting formalism.”