China's economy expands 6.7% in Q3, as Govt spending offsets weak exports
An employee works inside a chemical factory in Urumqi, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China, October 18, 2016. Picture taken October 18, 2016. REUTERS

The Chinese economy expanded 6.7 percent in the third quarter, helped by higher government spending and a surge in the property sector that compensated for the continued weakness in exports.

The growth rate was in line with analyst expectations and supports the government's optimism that the GDP target for this year will be achieved.

The quarter-on-quarter growth was 1.8 percent, data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed on Wednesday.

The steady GDP data was the result of expanded aggregate demand, supply-side structural reforms and accelerated fostering of new growth drivers, NBS spokesperson Sheng Laiyun said, Xinhua reported.

However, beneath the veneer of optimism lie tough challenges for the government, analysts have said. A drop in private investment, rising debt and a possible correction in the booming property market have put the onus on the government to sustain growth by ramping up spending.

"Looking ahead, we think that the cooling measures in property market will weigh on China's economy over the coming quarters," Commerzbank economist Zhou Hao in Hong Kong, told Reuters.

The Chinese government's growth target for the full year is of 6.5-7 percent. The economy grew 6.9 percent in 2015, the slowest pace in 25 years.

Credit-fueled housing boom

A World Bank report said last week China will continue to witness a gradual transition to slower, but more sustainable, growth. The Asian growth engine's economy is projected to expand 6.7 percent this year followed by 6.5 percent in 2017 and 6.3 percent in 2018.

With the economy rebalancing toward consumption, services and higher-value-added activities, growth in China will moderate, the report said.

In other data that came in the last week, China's factory output prices grew in September for the first time in almost five years. However, data showed last week exports for September slumped 10 percent from a year earlier, despite the yuan's depreciation in the past year. Imports unexpectedly fell, after ticking higher in August, raising questions over the resilience of domestic demand.

The sputtering growth engine of the world put up a stronger show in recent months aided by billions of dollars of government infrastructure projects and a spreading credit-fueled housing boom.