Country snapshots 2017-18: China (People’s Republic of)

Risks are rising

Economic growth is being supported by stimulus, but is set to edge down further to 6.1% by 2018. At the same time, risks are rising. The economy is undergoing transitions on several fronts. Private investment will be reinvigorated by the removal of entry restrictions in some service industries, but held back by adjustment in several heavy industries. Housing prices are again rising fast in the bigger cities, but working off housing inventories in smaller cities will take time. Consumption growth is set to hold up, especially as incomes rise and urbanisation continues. Reductions in excess capacity will ease downward pressure on producer prices but consumer price inflation will remain low. Import demand for goods will be damped by on-shoring, while services imports, in particular tourism, will grow rapidly. Exports will be held back by weak global demand and loss of competitiveness. 

Fiscal policy, including via the policy banks, is very expansionary. Monetary policy prudence is called for so as not to aggravate imbalances. Removing implicit public guarantees and ending bailouts would make for better and more market-based pricing of risk. Corporate debt has risen substantially to high levels and the enterprise sector therefore needs to deleverage. Supply-side reforms to cut excess capacity need to accelerate and bankruptcy of zombie firms be made easier. Leveraged investment in asset markets should be contained and monitored.

GDP growth


Current prices CNY trillion




% real change



59.5 6.7 6.4 6.1


©OECD Observer No 308 Q4 2016  

Economic data

GDP growth: -9.8% Q2/Q1 2020 2020
Consumer price inflation: 1.3% Sep 2020 annual
Trade (G20): -17.7% exp, -16.7% imp, Q2/Q1 2020
Unemployment: 7.3% Sep 2020
Last update: 10 Nov 2020

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