China Information

Saturday, December 16, 2006

China Aims at Better Economic Growth in 2007

China's economy will continue to steam ahead at 10 percent in 2007 and the central government is adopting new policies for better economic growth.
Major economic think tanks agree that growth rate will again hit double digits in 2007.
The World Bank is predicting 9.6 percent, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences has chipped in with 10.1 percent, the State Information Center is hedging its bets with a range of 9.5 to 10.5 percent and the State Council Development and Research Center plumped for 10 percent.
"Stable growth" is the key phrase in the central authorities' plans for next year's economic performance.
"The most important thing for next year's economic performance is to... keep the economy growing at a stable and relatively fast rate and prevent any big ups or downs," says a statement issued by the central authorities at the end of last week's Central Economic Work Conference.
Analysts said strong momentum and a host of supporting factors are contributing to growth.
"Supply factors are positive," said Li Xiaochao, director of the comprehensive affairs department of the National Statistics Bureau.
Energy and transport bottlenecks that hampered economic growth have been alleviated, and banks are ready to supply funds, he said.
In addition, investment, consumption and exports all remain at a high growth level.
More key national projects will start construction next year, and profit margins are expanding for most ventures. Export will continue to surge.
"China's exports growth will continue to roar ahead and its trade surplus will last for quite some time," said Zhang Liqun, an economist with the State Council Development and Research Center.
The worldwide economy is expected to grow 3.9 to 4.9 percent in 2007, a continuation of the strong growth since the 1970s, he said.
"The external environment will be quite favorable to Chinese growth," said Zhang.
To bring the growth under control, China has decided to maintain current fiscal and monetary policies while addressing critical problems in its economic growth.
Lawrence Greenwood, vice-president of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), said in Beijing this week that the domestic challenges China is facing cover social development, income disparities between rural and urban areas and environmental degradation.
Judging from the eight economic priorities listed in the central government's plan for next year, Chinese officials are well aware of the problems.
China has said domestic consumption should be boosted. It also plans to increase imports and encourage investment abroad.
In a bid to expand domestic consumption, the Government plans to invest more in rural areas to help farmers earn more, and in the central and western parts of the country.
In addition, the Government has decided to spend more money to help the unemployed, lower-income families, and to provide better medical care and education to the poor next year. As a result, households may need to save less and can consume more.
China has decided to combat pressures created by an overflowing trade surplus, the need to put too much money into circulation, and the deterioration of the environment.
China recorded a trade surplus of 157 billion US dollars during the first 11 months of the year, up 55.1 billion US dollars on the figure for the whole of 2005.
"The international payments imbalance has not gone away, and may take a long time to resolve," said Zhang Liqun of the State Council Development and Research Center.
China is trying to face up to the environmental degradation caused by headlong growth. But it remains to be seen whether energy-guzzling, polluting sectors can be reined in.
The Government has made protection of the environment a top priority for next year, but needs to map out specific, effective measures in the coming few months.
"We need to take advantage of the favorable conditions and bring China's growth onto a scientific and harmonious track," said Ma Kai, minister in charge of the National Development and Reform Commission. "It is much more important than to have some higher percentage points of growth."

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