July 7, 2018 / 4:05 AM / 11 days ago

China's second half GDP growth seen easing to around 6.6 percent - official think tank

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China’s broad economic growth was expected to ease to around 6.6 percent in the second half of this year, the State Information Center said on Saturday.

Buildings are seen in Beijing's central business area, China, April 1, 2018. REUTERS/Jason Lee

The official China Securities Journal quoted the State Information Center (SIC) saying the Chinese economy is likely to experience a mild slowdown in the second half of the year as financial market risks become “obvious” and demand is expected to decline.

The SIC is an official think tank affiliated with the National Development and Reform Commission, the country’s top economic planning agency.

The economy has already felt the pinch from a crackdown on riskier lending that has driven up corporate borrowing costs.

The central bank has since pumped more cash into the economy to ease fears from the start of a trade war with the United States by cutting reserve requirements for banks.

“Uncertainties in both internal and external economic developments are rising. Global trade frictions are intensifying while a spill-over effect from major economies’ monetary policy normalisation will amplify financial market volatility,” the think tank said.

“Downward pressure on the Chinese economy has increased.”

The United States and China imposed duties on $34 billion worth of each other’s imports on Friday, starting a trade war that could drag on for some time.

A Reuters poll of 55 economists this week showed China’s gross domestic product growth was expected to ease marginally to 6.7 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier, versus the 6.8 percent seen in the previous three quarters.

China is due to publish second quarter GDP on July 16, along with other activity data.

The State Information Center think tank expected dollar-denominated exports to grow around 8 percent in the second half versus a year earlier and imports to rise about 12 percent.

It forecast consumer inflation of around 1.8 percent and producer price inflation would pick up to about 2.5 percent in the second half from a year earlier.

In the same article, the SIC said it expected China’s industrial output to grow about 6.6 percent in the July-December period from a year earlier, with fixed-asset investment growth of around 6.5 percent and retail sales seen rising about 9.5 percent.

Reporting by Winni Zhou and John Ruwitch; Editing by Eric Meijer

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