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China's GDP grows 11.5 percent in first half year
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10:25, July 19, 2007

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China''s gross domestic product (GDP) rose 11.5 percent in the first half of the year, after it grew 11.9 percent in the second quarter, official figures revealed on Thursday.

The growth rate for the first half is 0.5 percentage points higher than the same period last year and much faster than the planned eight percent, spokesman Li Xiaochao with the National Bureau of Statistics told a press conference.

Consumption, the previously weakest engine compared with exports and investment, has caught up as retail sales grew 15.4 percent in the first half, 2.1 percentage points more than the rise in the same period last year. Fixed assets investment rose 25.9 percent, down 3.9 percentage points.

"The changes in domestic demand since the beginning of the year are what we were expecting," Li said, attributing the faster consumption to the rising income of the public.

China has used a full arsenal of industrial and taxation policies to help the poor, including subsidizing low-income families and farmers, increasing minimum wages and investing more in education, medical care and housing.

"We are keeping a close watch on what direction the accelerated economic growth is taking," said Li, "but whether or not the economy is overheated is a comprehensive issue that should be viewed from different angles."

With most key economic figures soaring in the second quarter, fixed asset investment slowed down and exports grew no faster than last year, said Li, rebuffing concerns that China''s economy was becoming overheated.

"A comprehensive viewpoint requires us to look at not only economic growth but also prices and supplies of staple goods."

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