China’s government work report set a target of around 6.5 percent in 2017, “which is a medium high-speed growth in line with economic laws for the country’s USD 11 trillion economy”, Premier Li Keqiang told lawmakers on March 6, 2017.
Describing a shifting global economic landscape in January 2017, the IMF forecast a same amount of GDP growth for China, expecting another decrease by 0.5 percentage point in 2018 at just 6 percent. According to the Chinese authorities, the growth forecast corresponds to the “new normal” that the world’s second largest economy is going through.
Although there should be no particular concern over a Chinese slowdown, officials said, the country’s economy agenda should however prioritize “quality, efficiency and innovation to achieve this year’s growth target”. On the one hand, some analysts pointed out that over the long term, there was certainly a Chinese slowdown given current growth forecast is down 9 percentage points from the 15% reached ten years ago in 2007.
The slowdown really started in 2011 when China’s GDP annual growth rate came under 10% and never come back above. On the other hand, analysts took the Chinese government’s new forecast as proof of growing economic responsibility since there were regularly doubts over the Chinese official statistics’ reliability. At 6.5%, China’s forecast would be closer to reality and the risk of disappointment would be lower as a result.