China’s economy grew 6.8% in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, slightly more than expected, supported by higher government spending and record bank lending that has stoked concerns about an explosive rise in debt. The world’s second-largest economy expanded 6.7% in 2016, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Friday, roughly in the middle of the government’s 6.5-7% growth target but still the slowest pace in 26 years. Economists polled by Reuters had expected China would report 6.7% growth for both the fourth quarter and the full year. China faces increasing uncertainties in 2017, with a housing frenzy showing signs of cooling and the impact of previous stimulus measures expected to fade. Sluggish exports also could come under fresh pressure if US President-elect Donald Trump takes a more protectionist stance on trade.
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