China economy

China on lookout for black swans, grey rhinos as 2018 growth tipped to slow

Senior Chinese economic planner says ignored and unforeseen threats expected this year

PUBLISHED : Monday, 29 January, 2018, 2:41pm
UPDATED : Monday, 29 January, 2018, 11:10pm

China’s economic growth is likely to slow to 6.5-6.8 per cent this year, a senior official at the country’s top economic planner wrote in Beijing Daily on Monday, while warning about the risks of “black swan” and “grey rhino” events.

Black swans, or unforeseen occurrences, and grey rhinos, or highly possible yet ignored threats, were likely to occur this year with adverse consequences, Fan Hengshan, vice secretary general of the National Development and Reform Commission, wrote in a commentary in the state-controlled newspaper.

Can China tame the ‘grey rhinos’ and ‘black swans’ in 2018?

China’s economy grew 6.9 per cent in 2017, the first acceleration since 2010. That pace easily beat the government’s 2017 target of around 6.5 per cent, welcome news for policymakers looking to curb financial risks and cut corporate debt.

“My personal opinion is that economic growth this year is very likely to exceed 6.5 per cent, roughly between 6.5 and 6.8 per cent,” Fan said.

Analysts polled by Reuters earlier this month also predicted a slowdown to 6.5 per cent this year as government-led crackdowns on debt risks and factory pollution drag on overall activity.

Fan said China would focus on fending off risks this year, particularly risks that would affect regions and cause systemic fluctuations.

Beijing watches out for ‘grey rhino’ and ‘black swan’ in the jungle of financial risks

“To this end, we must remain highly vigilant and enhance our sense of urgency,” he aid.

Earlier this month, China’s banking regulator chief told the official People’s Daily that a black swan event could threaten the country’s financial stability, adding that risks, while still manageable, were “complex and serious”.