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China's economy expanded by 6.9 percent in the first two quarters of 2017 and slowed slightly to 6.8 percent in the third quarter.

For the year, retail sales rose 10.2 percent, compared to 10.4 percent growth in 2016.

While China's leaders vowed to tackle local government debt during a major economic planning meeting in December, they also called for reasonable credit growth in 2018.

The world's second-largest economy produced a total of 831.73 million tonnes of crude steel past year, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Thursday January 18.

The figure, 0.2 percentage points higher than 2016, has also ended the slowed growth trend faced by the world's second largest economy since 2011. Thanks to the global economic recovery and the government's efforts to better allocate resources, the latest growth figures topped it's target of around 6.5 percent.

With fixed asset-investment growth at the weakest pace since 1999, exports helped pick up the slack.

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"Downside risks remain, in particular from more forceful USA trade restrictions on Chinese exports, given the further increase in the U.S.'s bilateral trade deficit with China previous year", said Kuijs. "I think growth will be 6.6 to 6.7 percent", said Wang Jun, chief economist at Zhongyuan Bank in Beijing.

In December alone, retail sales went up 9.4 percent, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

By comparison, in November, the sales increased by 10.2% and last month's forecast were for 10.1%.

The robust economic expansion indicated stability after slowing down since China last posted double-digit growth in 2010.

Using figures from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) to assess China's economic health always comes with caveats, however.

China's economy is reporting impressively strong numbers.