April 17, 2017 – 13:56 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net – China‘s economy expanded faster than expected in the first quarter as higher government infrastructure spending and a gravity-defying property boom helped boost industrial output by the most in over two years, Reuters reports.
Growth of 6.9 percent was the fastest in six quarters, with forecast-beating March investment, retail sales and exports all suggesting the economy may carry solid momentum into spring.
But most analysts say the first quarter may be as good as it gets for China this year, and worry Beijing is still relying too heavily on stimulus and “old economy” growth drivers, primarily the steel industry and a property market that is showing signs of overheating.
“The Chinese government has a tendency to rely on infrastructure development to sustain growth in the long term,” economists at ANZ said in a note.
“The question we need to ask is whether this investment-led model is sustainable as the authorities have trouble taming credit. We need to watch closely whether China’s top leadership will send a stronger signal to tighten monetary policy shortly.”
Even as top officials vowed to crack down on debt risks, China’s total social financing, a broad measure of credit and liquidity in the economy, reached a record 6.93 trillion yuan ($1 trillion) in the first quarter — roughly equivalent to the size of Mexico’s economy.
At the same time, spending by the central and local governments rose 21 percent from a year earlier.