DALIAN, China (Reuters) - China’s economy is likely to hit its growth target this year provided a bitter trade dispute with the United States does not worsen, and hence will not need “very big” stimulus measures to prop up growth, a central bank adviser said on Monday.
“If the Sino-U.S. trade relationship does not deteriorate further, the possibility of keeping gross domestic product (GDP) growth over 6% this year is rather big,” Ma Jun told Reuters on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum.
Chinese leaders have set a growth target of 6-6.5% for 2019.
“There should be no need to take very big, new stimulus measures,” he said.
The United States and China agreed on Saturday to restart trade talks after President Donald Trump offered concessions including no new tariffs and an easing of restrictions on tech company Huawei in order to reduce tensions with Beijing.
But China’s weak manufacturing readings in June, reflecting slowing momentum in a key sector driving growth, are likely to cast a shadow over the apparent progress U.S. and Chinese leaders made at the G20 summit in Japan.
The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) has already slashed the amount of cash banks must hold as reserve six times since early 2018 to help turn around soft credit growth. It has also injected large amounts of liquidity into the financial system and guided short-term interest rates lower.
Premier Li Keqiang raised expectations of more action last week by pledging measures to cut real interest rates on financing for small and micro firms.
The central bank has vowed not to adopt “flood-like” stimulus that analysts say could exacerbate debt and structural risks.
Larry Hu, chief China economist at Macquarie Group, still expects China’s economic stimulus to “escalate to the next level” in the four quarter as the economy is seen deteriorating further, even if trade tensions de-escalate.
“The reason is that the current growth slowdown in China is related to, but not caused by the trade war,” he wrote in a note on Sunday.
Asked if the PBOC will follow in the footsteps of the U.S. Federal Reserve in monetary easing, PBOC’s Ma said China’s monetary policymaking is primarily based on domestic economic conditions.
The Fed is expected to confirm a U-turn in global monetary policy and cut interest rates for the first time since the financial crisis a decade ago.
Ma said such changes in the external environment is “only for reference” in terms of its impact on the central bank’s monetary policies.
Nomura economists said on Sunday they expected China’s real GDP growth to drop from 6.4 percent in the first quarter year-on-year to 6.1 percent in the second quarter, the lowest on record since 1990.
Some analysts’ in-house models put China’s actual growth much lower than official readings suggest. Capital Economics’ gauge has been below 6% for some time.
“The latest (PMI) survey data suggest that China’s economy is coming under renewed pressure as a result of cooling foreign demand and waning fiscal support, which should trigger further monetary easing,” Capital Economics said in a note on Monday.
Reporting by Kevin Yao; Writing by Yawen Chen; Editing by Jacqueline Wong