BEIJING, March 29 (Xinhua) -- China's economy is likely to grow by 6.8 percent year on year in the first quarter of the year as production activities and investment picked up, according to a Chinese government think tank report Wednesday.
The firming trend in the fourth quarter last year has continued into the first quarter of 2017, according to the National Academy of Economic Strategy (NAES), citing a huge rise in factory-gate prices, rebounding corporate profits and increasing imports.
Consumer prices will rise by 1.4 percent in the first three months of this year, according to NAES, which is affiliated to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
"Despite downward pressure, China's economy has been operating in a good state," said Wang Hongju, a researcher with NAES. "The focus of macro-economic policies should be put in supply-side restructural reforms to boost potential output in the long run."
NAES estimated that China's economy would expand by 6.7 percent in the first half of the year as industrial production was likely to increase moderately in the second quarter, while investment would see slightly slower growth.
Consumption will grow steadily in the April-June period, but it will be difficult to find improvement in exports, according to the report.
The Chinese government trimmed its 2017 growth target to around 6.5 percent, the lowest in a quarter of a century.
The report said the Chinese government should guard against risks in the property and financial sectors by properly managing monetary and land supply "floodgates."
To curb excessive growth in house prices in certain cities, except for purchase restrictions, the government should also work to improve market supply and keep monetary expansion under control, according to the report.