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China's President Xi Jinping. Photo: KHAM / AFP / Getty Images)

China's economy has been booming for decades but, after steady declines since 2010, the rate of year-on-year growth actually ticked back up in 2017, to 6.9% from 6.7% in 2016, per Reuters.

Why it matters: The increase beat expectations, and came as China was "also engineering a significant slowdown in credit growth, after years in which economists have warned about risks building from years of aggressive credit stimulus," per the FT, which anticipates China will have a difficult time keeping up that pace in 2018.

Fixed asset-investment growth was weak last year, but exports grew faster than they had in 4 years, making up for that drop. Private sector investment rose last year as well.

And yet there remain a few wild cards:

  • Growth might slow this year since pollution policies might hurt industry, the government is trying to limit credit, and firms will face higher costs when borrowing, per Reuters.
  • Trade with the U.S. — Trump has been weighing tariffs on steel and aluminum, and just yesterday Trump told Reuters the U.S. would be adding a “fine” over China’s intellectual property theft. The U.S. trade deficit with China grew last year.
  • The reliability of China’s economic data is uncertain since local government officials in China are assessed based on their local economies’ performance. As the NYT’s Keith Brasher writes, “Officials in far-flung regions are admitting their numbers are wrong. And outside experts crunching the data have come up with different — and usually weaker — results.”

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
19 mins ago - Economy & Business

How the tech stock selloff is hurting average Americans

Expand chart
Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Investors holding the ultra-popular Nasdaq 100 and S&P 500 index funds have been hard hit over the last two weeks as tech shares have been roiled by rising U.S. Treasury yields.

Why it matters: Even though the economy is growing and many U.S. stocks are performing well, most investors are seeing their wealth decline because major indexes no longer reflect the overall economy or even a broad swath of public companies — they reflect the performance of a few of the country's biggest companies.

44 mins ago - World

UN rights chief: At least 54 killed, 1,700 detained since Myanmar coup

A Feb. 7 protest in Yangon, Myanmar. Photo: Getty Images/Getty Images

Police and military officers in Myanmar have killed at least 54 people during anti-coup protests, while "arbitrarily" detaining over 1,700 people, United Nations Human Rights Commissioner Michelle Bachelet said Thursday.

Why it matters: Protesters have demonstrating across Myanmar for nearly a month, demanding the restoration of democracy after the country's military leaders overthrew its democratically elected government on Feb. 1.

2 hours ago - Health

The danger of a fourth wave

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Note: Anomalous Arkansas case data from Feb. 28 was not included in the calculated change; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The U.S. may be on the verge of another surge in coronavirus cases, despite weeks of good news.

The big picture: Nationwide, progress against the virus has stalled. And some states are ditching their most important public safety measures even as their outbreaks are getting worse.