People walk past a construction site in the central business district of Beijing on May 18, 2017. (Greg Baker / AFP)
BEIJING - China's GDP rose 6.9 percent year on year in the second quarter of 2017, flat from the first quarter, official data showed Monday.
The pace was slightly higher than previous market consensus of 6.8 percent and well above the government's annual target of "around 6.5 percent."
In the first half, the growth rate was also 6.9 percent, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said in a statement.
"The national economy performed within an appropriate range with more visible good momentum," NBS said.
The quarterly pace came up from 6.7 percent for the first three quarters of 2016 and 6.8 percent for the final quarter of last year.
On a quarter-on-quarter basis, the GDP rose 1.7 percent in the second quarter.
On Monday, NBS also reported faster growth of retail sales of consumer goods and industrial production.
Industrial output expands 6.9 pct in H1
China's value-added industrial output, an important economic indicator, expanded 6.9 percent year on year in the first half of this year, compared with the 6.8-percent increase for the first quarter, official data showed Monday.
The growth rose from the 6-percent increase in the same period of 2016, according to NBS. Industrial output, officially called industrial value added, is used to measure the activity of designated large enterprises with annual turnover of at least 20 million yuan (nearly US$3 million). In June, industrial production expanded 7.6 percent year on year.
Ownership analysis showed that industrial output of state-holding enterprises was up 6.2 percent in the January-June period, while output of share-holding enterprises grew 7.1 percent. Meanwhile, industrial output of foreign-funded enterprises increased 6.7 percent.
Retail sales up 10.4 pct in H1
China's retail sales of consumer goods grew 10.4 percent year on year in the first half of 2017, official data showed Monday.
The pace was slightly faster than 10 percent for the first quarter, the NBS said in a statement.
The NBS attributed the growth partly to booming online sales, which surged 33.4 percent year on year in the first half, 1.3 percentage points faster than the first quarter.
Retail sales in rural areas rose 12.3 percent, outpacing the 10.1 percent expansion for urban areas.
Booming retail sales are behind China's stabilizing economy, which grew 6.9 percent in the first half of this year.
Fixed-asset investment eases in H1
China's fixed-asset investment (FAI) eased in the first half of this year as the economy continues to firm up, data released Monday showed.
FAI grew 8.6 percent year on year in the first six months, down 0.6 percentage points from the first quarter, according to NBS.
Total investment from January to June stood at 28.06 trillion yuan (US$4.15 trillion), according to a statement of the NBS.
Primary industry posted the fastest FAI growth, up 16.5 percent year on year, followed by the service industry with an increase of 11.3 percent and 4 percent in the secondary industry.
Investment in the manufacturing sector rose 5.5 percent in the first half, up 0.4 percentage points from the first five months.
Private sector investment grew 7.2 percent in the first six months to 17.02 trillion yuan, accounting for 60.7 percent of the total, according to the statement.
The bureau's calculation does not include FAI by farmers. It includes projects with planned investment of more than 5 million yuan, as well as all property development.
Property development investment slows
Growth in property development investment continued to decelerate in the first half of the year as the market showed signs of cooling, data showed Monday. Investment in property development expanded 8.5 percent year on year for January-June, down from 8.8 percent during the first five months, according to NBS. Housing sales measured by floor area rose 16.1 percent for the first half, with growth up from 14.3 percent for January-May.
Growth of housing sales value also accelerated to 21.5 percent in the first six months from 18.6 percent in the first five months. There has been continued progress of destocking in the property market, with areas of the unsold homes down 9.6 percent at the end of June compared with one year earlier, NBS spokesperson Xing Zhihong told a press conference.
The data adds to evidence that China's property market boom is running out of steam as the government continues cooling measures to quash potential asset bubbles. Rocketing housing prices, especially in major cities, had fueled concerns about asset bubbles. Since the end of 2016, dozens of local governments have passed or expanded their restrictions on house purchases and increased the minimum down payment required for a mortgage.
The data sets were released as part of a series of economic figures unveiled by the NBS, including GDP, retail sales, industrial production and fixed asset investment, which showed the world's second-largest economy continued to maintain stable growth.