Q4 growth may ease to 9%

08:40, January 12, 2011      

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China's economic growth may further moderate to 9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010 from 9.6 percent in the previous three months, and for the whole year the rate is expected to settle at around 10 percent, analysts said.

The quarterly slowdown was largely due to a higher comparative base and tightening monetary policies to cool inflation.

With food prices stabilizing, December's Consumer Price Index, the main gauge of inflation, may increase 4.3 percent on an annual basis, a drop from November's 28-month peak of 5.1 percent.

Inflation last year may well settle at 3.3 percent, exceeding the national target of 3 percent.

"China's economic performance last year is better than expected," said Zhang Liqun, an analyst at the Development Research Center of the State Council, China's Cabinet. "A faster global recovery has helped China."

Zhang estimated net exports would contribute 2.5 percentage points to last year's economic growth, compared with 2009's negative 3.7 percentage points.

The General Administration of Customs said on Monday that China's exports climbed 31.3 percent to US$1.58 trillion, while imports jumped to US$1.39 trillion, up an annual 38.7 percent.

Wang Tao, a UBS economist, said stronger-than-expected external demand has fueled China's economic growth last year. She said the gross domestic product may gain 9.1 percent in the October-December period.

"But with the fading effect of a low comparative base and withdrawal of stimulus policies, China is facing risks of an economic slowdown this year," Wang cautioned.

China may further lift interest rates as the People's Bank of China, the central bank, said last week that it will give higher priority to the fight against inflation.

The central bank said it will "effectively manage liquidity and control financial conditions that might cause excessive price increases."

China raised interest rates twice last year, with the latest increase on Christmas Day.

Source: Shanghai Daily
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