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Friday, January 21, 2000, updated at 20:21(GMT+8)
Business Consumer Goods Market Expected to Grow 7.4 Percent This Year

China's consumer goods market is expected to grow by 7.4 percent this year, which would be more than last year, according to predictions by some market analysts.

Statistics show that total retail sales of consumer goods hit 3.11 trillion yuan last year, up 6.8 percent from 1998. If the factor of lower prices is taken into consideration, the growth rate in real terms was around 10 percent.

Guo Shouzhong, an official with the information center under the State Administration of Internal Trade, said that compared with last year, sales prospects will be brighter this year.

He said the government will continue to enhance efforts to stimulate domestic demand by the introduction of more favorable fiscal and monetary policies.

Guo said the government's macro-control policies have taken effect, and cited as one example that the country's stockpiles have been reduced, and many state-owned enterprises are seeing better economic returns.

Guo added that because the export environment will be better than last year, the imbalance between supply and demand in the domestic market will be eased to some extent.

However, Guo pointed out that price levels have dropped for 26 consecutive months since 1997, and last year's price level further declined 0.3 percentage points from the 1998 figure despite government micro-control efforts.

He also cautioned that if domestic demand does not increase and non-governmental investment is inadequate, China's consumer goods market cannot be expected to see much improvement. (Xinhua)

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