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China's property investment to grow less rapidly this year: report

Reuters

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's investment in the property sector will likely expand at a slower pace in 2017 as Beijing looks to curb speculation, while infrastructure spending is expected to maintain a double-digit growth, state media cited a government adviser as saying.

Li Wei, president of the State Council's Development Research center, made the comments over the weekend at a seminar, China Economic Daily reported on Sunday.

Li also said China's exports would likely resume positive growth this year, as commodity prices stabilize and the impact of an appreciation in the U.S. dollar gets gradually absorbed.

China, the world's largest trading nation, posted a 7.7 percent decline in exports in 2016, the second annual drop in a row and the worst since the depths of the global crisis in 2009, in the face of persistently weak global demand.

The country's real estate investment rose 6.9 percent in 2016 as national sales posted their strongest annual growth in seven years thanks to a furious property boom in top-tier cities.

"From mid to long term, the downward channel for Chinese economy has narrowed significantly," Li was quoted as saying.

Consumer spending, a key driver for the economy, is also expected to extend a double-digit growth this year, Li added.

China's consumer spending rose 10.4 percent last year, while its infrastructure spending expanded 17.4 percent.

The government should prioritize risk management in the financial sector this year, said Li, echoing the country's central bank that has said it plans to tighten up its oversight in a range of areas, including corporate debt and bank assets.

The government has been fretting over fast-rising leverage and the risk of asset bubbles in the rapidly growing economy, which expanded 6.7 percent in 2016. Surging home prices have already led to restrictions on purchases and lending in dozens of cities since October.

(Reporting by Chen Aizhu and Zhang Min; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

 

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