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GDP growth could dip under 9%

(China Daily)

08:21, September 07, 2011

BEIJING - The growth rate of China's economy is likely to fall below 9 percent next year, pulled down by the deteriorating economic momentum of the largest developed countries, a senior currency regulation official said on Tuesday.

Huang Guobo, the chief economist at the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, said weakening demand in global markets is expected challenge the country's export-driven economy.

"If the situation continues into next year, China's GDP growth rate may decrease to less than 9 percent," he said at a forum in Beijing. If so, it would be the first time this has happened since 2001.

China might face more imported inflationary pressure because of soaring commodity prices, which have been lifted higher by mass liquidity, Huang said.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the GDP growth rate in the second quarter was 9.5 percent, down from 9.7 percent in the first quarter, a decline economists attributed to the steadily tightened monetary policy.

Premier Wen Jiabao said last week that the government should "pay attention to the cumulative and lagging effect of monetary policy" amid the complicated economic conditions in China and abroad.

Many economists have said there will be less room for the central bank to further raise the interest rate and reserve-requirement ratio for the rest of this year.

The purchasing managers' index (PMI) in August, released by the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing, rose to 50.9 year-on-year from the 29-month low of 50.7 in July, signaling a rebound in manufacturing.

However, Chang Jian, an economist at Barclays Capital Inc, still forecast slower GDP growth in the third quarter at close to 9 percent and below 9 percent in the last quarter.

"We believe GDP growth is still on track to slow to around 9 percent in 2011 from 10.3 percent in 2010," he said.

Last week, UBS AG also downgraded its forecast for China's GDP growth from 9.3 percent to 9 percent in 2011 and from 9 percent to 8.3 percent in 2012.

Huang said that the global economy is caught in the deteriorating sovereign debt crisis of some large economies, especially in Europe, and reduced worldwide market confidence. "That will threaten China's economy in the future," he said.

Huang said that the 10.7-trillion-yuan ($1.67 billion) local government debt is healthy and safe now because most of it is supported by valuable assets and infrastructure construction investments.

He suggested increasing transparency in bond markets and improving the market pricing mechanism for local debt.

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