While China is widely expected to meet its government's 2016 growth targets with no surprises, there are underlying insights that can be gleaned from the GDP data due this Friday, economists said.
The world's second-largest economy likely grew 6.7 percent on-year in the fourth quarter, at the same pace as the previous three quarters, according to a Reuters poll of 42 economists.
The steady growth comes on the back of "strong activity in housing and manufacturing outweighing sluggish activity in heavy industry," said economists at Moody's Analytics in a weekly note.
The consensus forecast is also in line with estimates from the head of China's state planning agency, who said on Jan 10. that the economy likely grew around 6.7 percent last year, Reuters reported.
This may be China's slowest pace of growth in 26 years, but it remains within the range for Beijing to meet its longer-term goal of doubling GDP and per capita income by 2020 from 2010 levels.
"China's GDP is notoriously steady, with very little deviation from consensus…instead the nuances buried in data details may offer the only real glimpses beneath the GDP bonnet," said Vishnu Varathan and Chang Wei Liang, economists at Mizuho Bank, in a note last Friday.