Transport, Catering and Hotels Led China’s Economic Expansion

  • Economy accelerated for the first time in two years in 4Q
  • Property and construction show signs of further slowdown

Transport, deliveries and eateries spurred the first acceleration in Chinese economic growth in two years last quarter, highlighting the robust expansion of new drivers and the underlying risks in real-estate since the introduction of policy curbs to halt property speculation.

Carriers, warehousing and delivery output rose 9.9 percent from a year earlier in the fourth quarter, the National Bureau of Statistics said Saturday. Catering and the hotel sector increased 7.3 percent in the same period. Wholesale and retail edged up to 7.2 percent, while industrial output held up.

The nation’s economy is going through a transition that sees it depend more on waiters, delivery people, doctors and software engineers than the smoke-stack industries. Gross domestic product increased 6.8 percent in the three months through December from a year earlier, with services accounting for 51.6 percent of the expansion and consumption contributing 64.6 percent.

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Meanwhile, property and construction face increasing headwinds after the government rolled out measures from late last year to curb speculation and cool surging home prices in some cities. Yet real estate remains a pillar of the world’s second-largest economy, spurring demand for products ranging from cement, steel and home appliances to brokerage services. The expansion in property output edged down to 7.7 percent in the last quarter, leaving full-year growth at 8.6 percent, far exceeding the 3.8 percent posted in 2015.

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Finance sector output growth dropped following a stock market rout at the beginning of last year and a bond slump toward the end of the year. Full-year output increased 5.7 percent, slowing from 15.9 percent in 2015.

— With assistance by Xiaoqing Pi, and Yinan Zhao

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