European Union president backs WTO reform to prevent ‘chaos’

Tuesday, 17 Jul, 2018

That was the slowest pace since 2016 and down slightly from the 6.8 percent pace in the previous quarter.

Even before the dispute with Washington erupted, forecasters expected growth to cool after Beijing started tightening controls on bank lending a year ago to rein in surging debt.

China faced an "extremely complex environment both at home and abroad", said Mao Shengyong, a spokesman for the national statistics bureau, noting growth remained strong.

Though Beijing has ordered state media to downplay the trade war and refrain from insulting U.S. President Donald Trump-as reported by Reuters and South China Morning Post-the official response has been aggressive in reprimanding the United States and denying that China has engaged in unfair trade practices.

The impact of the deepening trade conflict with the United States was yet to fully kick in, according to analysts, who added however that Beijing's battle to rein in pollution and spiralling debt levels had crimped growth.

He expects China's consumer prices to maintain mild growth in the second half, as the prices of food items including pork and cooking oil, likely to be pushed up by more expensive imported soybeans, are still relatively low.

The politically-sensitive data comes as sides have imposed 25% tariffs on 34-billion-dollars of the others' imports. Beijing responded by vowing to retaliate and file a complaint to the WTO.

Last week, the administration announced 10 per cent tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, which won't take effect until at least September.

"Looking ahead, export growth will cool in the coming months as United States tariffs start to bite alongside a broader softening in global demand", Julian Evans-Pritchard, Senior China Economist at Capital Economics in Singapore wrote in a note, though he noted a weaker yuan should help offset some of the decline.

Experts say China will likely be looking to establish some kind of anti-U.S. alliance that Beijing could use as a counterbalance to the United States amid its tariff dispute with the US president.

More broadly, anxiety about tariffs "is already dampening business confidence and delaying investment", said Louis Kuijs of Oxford Economics in a report.

A joint statement said Beijing and Brussels had submitted market access offers for the first time as part of investment treaty talks, adding that the exchange should open a "new phase" in the negotiations that both sides viewed as "a top priority".

China is the No. 1 trading partner for its Asian neighbors and buys oil, iron ore and other raw materials from Australia, Brazil and elsewhere. The nominal growth in resident income was 8.7 percent in the first six months.

Chinese leaders are in the midst of a marathon effort to encourage self-sustaining growth driven by domestic consumption and reduce reliance on exports and investment.

Some 180.22 million rural laborers were working outside their hometowns as of the end of June, up by 0.8 percent compared with one year earlier.

Net trade continued to be a drag on growth, as while China runs a massive surplus in goods, once imports and the services trade is taken into account, the picture looks much more balanced.