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January 3, 2017

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Home » Business » Benchmark

As sands of time shift, we mull the unknown

A new year, a blank page for history to write in a rapidly changing world.

What will Brexit bring for Britain and its trade ties abroad? How will the election of Donald Trump affect China-American relations? How will China pursue its market reform agenda and maintain a steady keel on growth?

At the Central Economic Work Conference concluded in December, the nation’s leaders vowed to keep the exchange rate stable, curb the property bubble and proceed with structural reforms in 2017 as part of its sustainable growth strategy.

China is trying to rebalance its economy to ensure quality growth and minimize risks. It is trying to steer the nation away from over-reliance on exports and make consumerism a main driver of growth. It is shifting industrial emphasis from dirty manufacturing and mindless production to the avant-garde of technology. It is reining in runaway property prices that have put home ownership out of the reach of many ordinary people, and it is putting the squeeze on illegal business practices. It is modernizing financial markets and cracking down on corruption. Innovation has been the watchword for a society trying to redefine the future.

The nation is now entering what is called the “new normal” — an umbrella term for an array of policy fronts, including supply-side reform, performance of the yuan against other currencies, local government debt, Internet-Plus technology and the “One Belt, One Road” trade initiative.

Gross domestic product grew at an annualized rate of 6.7 percent for the first nine months of 2016. The World Bank, Citi Group, Nomura and other institutions are forecasting a growth rate of 6.5 percent in 2017.

China’s efforts are closely watched by the rest of the world. As the world’s second-largest economy, what happens here ripples across the globe.

In this, the second of two Benchmark editions devoted to the change of year, we look ahead to 2017 in areas such as the exchange rate, the retail industry and manufacturing.


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