China’s economy has sealed its first full-year acceleration since 2010, underpinning global growth and giving authorities more room to purge excessive borrowing.
Gross domestic product increased 6.8pc in the fourth quarter from a year earlier.
Full-year growth picked up to 6.9pc from 6.7pc in 2016. A reflation of the industrial sector and a global upswing that’s boosting exports are providing room for President Xi Jinping to tackle debt risks, one of Beijing’s top goals for the coming three years.
With consumer inflation still contained and the currency firm, the central bank has been able to tighten the screws in some areas without benchmark interest rate increases, though a minority of economists are beginning to anticipate such a move.
“The economy is cruising along at impressive speed, breezing past potential speed bumps with apparent ease,” said Frederic Neumann, co-head of Asian economics research at HSBC.
In a year that began with fears of a trade war with a newly elected Donald Trump, exports turned back into a growth engine for the world’s factory floor.
China added over 13 million new jobs in 2017 whilst the surveyed unemployment rate was 4.98pc at the end of December.