China says consumption growth will remain fast in 2016

A sales assistant arrange products at a supermarket in Zouping, Shandong province, March 10, 2015. REUTERS/China Daily

BEIJING (Reuters) - Consumption in China will continue to grow at a quick pace in 2016, Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng told a news conference on Tuesday.

China’s economic slowdown has caused jitters in global financial markets as it seeks to rebalance its economy towards consumption-led growth from a traditional reliance on exports and investment.

Consumption accounted for 66.4 percent of China’s GDP growth in 2015, the statistics bureau said in January. Business surveys have shown resilient growth in the services sector even as activity in “old economy” sectors such as heavy industry contracts.

Recent yuan fluctuations will not impact trade performance, Gao also said, adding that neither depreciation or appreciation of the yuan would benefit China’s trade.

The yuan has fallen a further 3 percent against the dollar after China devalued its currency by nearly 2 percent on Aug. 11 last year.

Gao also said Beijing does not think the U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) targets China.

China is not among the 12 Pacific-Rim countries which agreed to the trade pact, the most ambitious in a generation, in October last year. The accord includes Australia and Japan among economies worth a combined $28 trillion.

He added the TPP and the Chinese-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) are moving in the same direction.

Reporting By Xiaoyi Shao, Sue-Lin Wong and Kevin Yao; Editing by Kim Coghill