INTERNACIONAL.- China’s economic growth held steady in the quarter ending in March amid a worsening trade dispute with U.S. President Donald Trump, buoyed by strong e-commerce and factory output.
The world’s second-largest economy expanded by 6.8 percent over a year earlier, in line with the quarter ending in December and down slightly from 2017’s full-year expansion of 6.9 percent, data showed Tuesday. It was above the official 2018 target of “around 6.5 percent,” which would be among the world’s strongest if achieved.
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A government spokesman expressed confidence China’s $12 trillion-a-year economy can withstand Trump’s threatened tariff hikes on up to $150 billion of Chinese goods in a dispute over technology policy.
China has “room to maneuver” following efforts to develop more self-sustaining growth based on domestic consumption and reduce reliance on trade, said Xing Zhihong, spokesman for the National Bureau of Statistics. “China is fully capable of responding to Sino-U.S. trade frictions, responding to challenges and maintaining sustained and healthy economic development,” Xing said at a news conference.
Forecasters expect Chinese growth to cool this year as Beijing tries to rein in rising debt seen as the biggest threat to economic stability by tightening controls to cool a boom in real estate sales and bank lending.