China economy stronger than data suggests: government

Thu Apr 17, 2014 2:01am EDT
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By Aileen Wang and Adam Rose

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's economy is doing better than official data suggests, the Commerce Ministry said a day after figures showed growth at an 18-month low, adding that targets for exports and imports this year should be met despite some caution over the trade outlook.

Ministry spokesman Shen Danyang said a rise in export deliveries, a customs department poll of exporters and growth in trade in individual provinces all showed that the economy was in good shape.

"I agree with the opinion that the economy and trade were faring better than the released data showed," Shen told reporters at a briefing on Thursday.

Data on Wednesday showed the economy grew an annual 7.4 percent in the first quarter, its slowest pace in 18 months but just ahead of forecasts for 7.3 percent growth.

March trade figures earlier this month showed exports unexpectedly fell for a second successive month and imports dropped sharply.

Shen said trade numbers in 2013 had been artificially inflated by the reporting of fake deals, used to avoid capital controls, before a crackdown. That was one of the reasons for the sharp drop in trade figures in the first quarter, he added.

"Stripping off the abnormally high comparison base of last year, China's exports and imports in the first quarter actually grew 4.6 percent and 9.6 percent respectively," he said.

The government has repeatedly said it would accept slower growth to push forward its restructuring of the economy away from a reliance on investment and credit for growth.   Continued...

A man fishes next to a lake with the reflection of newly-built residential buildings at a park in Shenyang, Liaoning province, April 16, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer