China’s economy grew at about 7 percent with the services sector accounting for half of the gross domestic product, Premier Li Keqiang reportedly said Saturday. Consumption contributed nearly 60 percent of economic growth, he said, at the opening ceremony for the China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in Beijing.
Reuters polls have forecast 2015 growth rate of about 6.9 percent, down from 7.3 percent in 2014, and the slowest pace for growth in the Chinese economy in 25 years.
The premier said that Beijing does not intend to use a cheaper yuan to boost flagging exports, adding that China is capable of keeping the yuan's exchange rate “basically stable at an appropriate and balanced level,” according to CNBC, which cited state-run news agency Xinhua.
Currency devaluation causes a country's exports to become less expensive, making them more competitive on the global market.
The yuan dropped 1.75 percent against the US dollar last week, prompting the People's Bank of China to intervene in the offshore yuan market during the past week. The drop followed a sharper 3 percent devaluation earlier in August last year. However, with the largest foreign currency reserves in the world, China’s policymakers have repeatedly said they have the firepower to keep the yuan stable.
The premier also said that employment had expanded more than expected, with the country's total workforce expanding to 900 million people, including 150 million skilled professionals. China's fourth-quarter and full-year 2015 GDP figures are expected to be released on Jan. 19.
The Chinese government has said its aim is to achieve 6.5 percent growth annually for the next five years, a goal that many economists feel would be tough to achieve due to challenges of slowing global demand, wage rises and environmental concerns.