WASHINGTON, Oct. 10 (Xinhua) -- The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Tuesday raised its forecast for China's economic growth in 2017 and 2018, citing the stronger-than-expected performance in the first half of the year and continuous policy support.
In its latest World Economic Outlook, the IMF expected the Chinese economy to grow 6.8 percent this year and 6.5 percent next year, both 0.1 percentage point higher than its previous forecast in July.
The upward revision to the 2017 forecast reflects "the stronger-than-expected outturn in the first half of the year underpinned by previous policy easing and supply-side reforms," the IMF said.
China's economy expanded 6.9 percent in the first half of this year, well above the government's yearly target of 6.5 percent.
The upward revision to the 2018 forecast mainly reflects an expectation that "authorities will maintain a sufficiently expansionary policy mix" to meet their target of doubling real gross domestic product (GDP) between 2010 and 2020, according to the IMF.
While China's growth rates for 2019 to 2022 have similarly been revised upward by 0.2 percentage point on average, the IMF urged the Chinese authorities to intensify their recent efforts to rein in credit expansion and strengthen financial resilience.
"It would be advisable to deemphasize near-term growth targets and focus more on reforms that would enhance the sustainability of growth," the IMF said.
James Daniel, assistant director of the Asia and Pacific Department of the IMF and its mission chief for China, told Xinhua in a recent interview that the strong growth momentum this year has paved way for policymakers to accelerate needed reforms and achieve safer and more sustainable growth over the medium and long term.
"Now it is time to do so...that requires reforms to make growth less reliant on credit, less reliant on debt, less reliant on investment," he said.