January 11, 2018 / 1:31 AM / in a month

China Premier Li says 2017 GDP growth expected around 6.9 percent

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s Premier Li Keqiang said the economy is expected to have grown around 6.9 percent last year, the official Xinhua news agency reported, accelerating from a 26-year low the year before.

In the past year, China’s economy has maintained a steady and favorable trend, with the overall situation better than expected, Li said at the Mekong-Lancang Cooperation Forum on Wednesday.

Analysts expect the world’s second-biggest economy to have grown around 6.8 percent last year, beating the government’s target of about 6.5 percent, thanks to a construction boom and robust global demand for Chinese exports. Gross domestic product expanded 6.7 percent in 2016.

The main reason why China performed well last year was because it refrained from “flooding” the economy with stimulus while pushing ahead with supply-side reforms and cultivating new sources of momentum, Li said.

The official 2017 GDP data is due to be published on Jan. 18.

China’s foreign exchange reserves continued to rise last year, while the country’s corporate leverage ratio declined at a steady pace, Li also said, according to Xinhua.

Reporting by Ryan Woo; Editing by Shri Navaratnam

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