Economists at Barclays raised their expectation for GDP expansion for this year to 6.5 percent from the previous 6.2 percent, citing the surprise first-quarter growth result.
In a note Wednesday, they said the figure was boosted by “greater impact” from government stimulus measures as well as factors including signs of improving housing and property markets and a better export outlook.
Citi also raised its annual GDP forecast to 6.6 percent from 6.2 percent on Wednesday, citing a more optimistic outlook for a U.S.-China trade deal and stronger domestic demand in China.
“Our new baseline scenario is that a framework trade deal between the U.S. and China will be reached in (the second quarter) and it will lift most, if not all, existing punitive tariffs,” economists at the U.S. bank wrote.
Meanwhile, ING lifted its forecast to 6.5 percent from its previous 6.3 percent, calling stimulus-fueled infrastructure projects and 5G telecoms production the “real growth engine” in the first quarter.
Iris Pang, ING’s Greater China economist, said in a note Wednesday, “We think the trend could continue for the rest of the year.”
China is officially targeting growth of between 6.0 percent to 6.5 percent this year. And while its quarterly GDP data is widely watched as the key barometer for the state of the economy, experts have long questioned its accuracy.
Some analysts are looking at alternative indicators for evidence of the state of growth.
For instance, economist Christopher Balding — a professor at Fulbright University Vietnam — said he’s looking at business electricity consumption, which shrank despite the official report that the economy grew. Writing on Twitter, Balding cited data from Wind and Groundwork Research showing declining energy consumption by businesses this year.