JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – China’s economy grew 6.9 per cent in 2017, the fastest since 2015 even as policymakers made headway towards curbing financial risk from excessive debt growth, the country’s statistics bureau said on Thursday.

Previously, The World Bank projected for China’s economic growth in 2017 could reach 6.8 per cent driven by rising household incomes and improving external demand.

Most analysts had expected policymakers to ensure a solid growth performance in the run-up to October’s five-yearly Communist party congress, where President Xi Jinping strengthened his hold on power.

The recovery in global trade has been an important factor supporting economic activity in China in 2017, with net exports contributing positively to growth for three consecutive quarters, compared to a negative contribution in 2015-2016.

Business confidence has improved as well, job creation remains buoyant, capital outflows have stabilized, and the Renminbi has appreciated against the US dollar, the Update says.

China, for its part, will keep its target for economic growth at “around 6.5 percent” in 2018, unchanged from last year.

China’s housing market picked up slightly in December as mild declines in bigger metropolises stabilised and smaller cities gained some momentum, but price growth more than halved in 2017 as government curbs on speculation took effect.

New home prices rose 5.3 percent year-on-year in December, slightly up from November’s 5.1 percent increase, but well off the 12.4 percent growth seen in 2016 as the government worked to engineer a soft landing for the soaring housing market.