Whither the economy?Reuters/Jason Lee/
Whither the economy?Reuters/Jason Lee/

China should set its gross domestic production growth target at around 6.5% for 2017, suggested the State Information Center in an article carried by the China Securities Journal.

The target is at the lower end of the 6.5% to 6.7% range set by China’s government this year, though the think-tank said its very likely real growth will exceed the target it recommends.

Stabilizing GDP growth above the 6.5% level largely depends on the lagging effect of the crackdown on housing market speculation, the report said. In October this year, China imposed stricter mortgage rules and loan limits as house prices became overheated.

The recommendation by the think-tank, which is affiliated with the National Development and Reform Commission, comes ahead of the Central Economic Work Conference this month when China’s top leaders set the economic reform agenda for the year ahead.

On other indicators, the research center said a growth ceiling in the consumer price index should be contained around 2.5 percent. Consumer prices are on an upward trend and predicted to increase about 1.8 percent in 2017. Industrial product prices are unlikely to maintain the gains seen in the fourth quarter of this year, with the producer price index estimated to rise a modest 1.0 percent.

Net exports are forecast to fall 3% as global demand slows and more trade disputes are expected. Imports are likely to drop 4%, the center said.

Consumption will be driven by emerging personalized services in recreation and entertainment, health and aging care, as well as education and information. E-commerce will continue to generate new consumption hotspots. Retail sales of consumer goods and services are expected to grow around 10% next year.

Fixed asset investment may rise 8.5% in 2017 as investors show a stronger appetite for infrastructures projects.