(Adds comments by Zhou, previous GDP growth rates)
SHANGHAI/BEIJING, Oct 16 (Reuters) - China’s economy is expected to grow 7 percent in the second half of this year, the country’s central bank governor said, accelerating from the first six months and defying economists’ expectations for a slowdown.
Many economists expect growth to wane in the coming months due to higher borrowing costs, property purchase curbs and the government-mandated shutdown of some factories to reduce winter air pollution.
The driving force behind the growth is mainly rising household consumption, according to a statement published on the People’s Bank of China’s website on Monday, citing the bank’s governor, Zhou Xiaochuan.
“China’s economic growth has slowed over the past few years...but economic growth has rebounded this year, with GDP reaching 6.9 percent in the first half, and may achieve 7 percent in the second half,” Zhou was quoted as saying at the G30 International Banking Seminar in Washington on Sunday.
The government has set a 2017 GDP growth target of around 6.5 percent. Zhou’s estimate implies a full-year expansion of about 6.95 percent, topping the annual growth rates in 2015-2016.
China publishes its third-quarter gross domestic product number on Thursday, with economists on average expecting growth of 6.8 percent.
Reporting by Brenda Goh and Ryan Woo; Editing by Sam Holmes