• Chinese war journalists

Chinese war journalists (Photo : Getty Images)

China's National Bureau of Statistics is set to release on Monday, April 17, the estimate for the country's economic growth in the first quarter, the Financial Times reported.

Premier Li Keqiang said last month that China's gross domestic product (GDP) may be expected to grow to around 6.5 percent for the year, compared with 6.7 percent in 2016.

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Chinese officials, however, expressed calm amid a slowing economic growth, which they say is the "new normal" to maintain a more balanced growth as the Chinese economy shifts from its dependence on credit-fueled investment.

But ahead of the data release on China Q1 GDP, analysts are looking for four indicators that may signal trouble for the economy.

1. Risks

Many analysts believe that China can easily achieve the first-quarter growth of 6.5 percent as the Chinese Communist Party had set to maintain economic stability and job creation as their priority, ahead of the Party reorganization by the end of the year.

However, some analysts also expressed concern that the economy's strong performance could increase the possibility of financial and economic reckoning at the early months of President Xi Jinping's second term.

This is shown by the continued growth of credit, which rose more than twice the rate of the economy, analysts said. The country's overall credit rate is about to reach 300 percent, most of it in the corporate sector.

2. Private sector growth

Analysts anticipating the data on Monday expect to see whether private companies are recovering or remaining doubtful of the prospects for their businesses.

The government said that the country's debt problem is mainly a government concern as investments by state-owned enterprises rose by about 20 percent year-on-year last year, while private sector investment was lackluster.

3. Inflation rate

Although producer prices improved in the last six months due to production in the heavy industries, producer price inflation remains moderate while consumer price inflation is below 1 percent.

Analysts believe that a rise in the inflation rate would drive China's central bank to raise interest rates, which could affect its campaign to curb capital flight and maintain the yuan's decline against the dollar.

Although a rise in the benchmark rate may help boost the yuan, it would make it more difficult for the government to achieve the 6.5 percent GDP growth target. To encourage companies and individuals to keep their money in the country, the central bank restricted the short-term wholesale money market rates.

4. Bubble risks

Analysts are expecting figures on real estate investment to show if the government's measures to control the surge in housing prices have been effective.

As the Party issued guidelines last year, which declared that "houses are for living in, not speculating," many Chinese cities are burdened with unsold houses.

To address these issues, the country's housing ministry ordered cities with three year's housing supply to stop selling land, while cities with only a year's supply were asked to increase their land sales.