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|Saturday, June 03, 2000, updated at 11:08(GMT+8)|
Economy Growing on Fast TrackChina's economy will have a higher growth rate in 2000 than in 1999 as long as no unexpected factors arise, Qiu Xiaohua, deputy director of the National Bureau of Statistics, told a press conference held by the Information Office of the State Council.
The country's gross domestic product (GDP) should be close to eight percent for the first half of the year, he said.
"In the first quarter, economic growth was up 8.1 percent; in the second quarter growth won't be as high as the first quarter, but not too much lower," he noted.
He explained that this is because agricultural production will be lower in the second quarter than in the first due to seasonal factors.
"Although prices of consumer goods in general are still falling, the speed of their decline has slowed," said Qiu, who expressed confidence that the consumer price index (CPI) will "come out of its downward trend."
He attributed the better performance of the Chinese economy mainly to the implementation of proactive fiscal policies over the past two years or more, and the improvement of the international economic environment.
The official noted that China's entry into the World Trade Organization and a national campaign to develop the western region of the country will provide impetus for further economic expansion.
The Chinese government's consumption stimulus policies have already led to positive results, with retail sales of consumer products rising 10 percent in the first four months of the year to reach 1.1 trillion yuan.
Urban retail sales in the January-April period totaled 676.5 billion yuan, up 10.6 percent from 1999, and 1.4 percentage points higher than the level for rural areas.
Commodity prices have reversed their prolonged downturn and have experienced moderate recovery in the four-month period, Qiu said.
Wholesale prices for industrial products and the purchasing prices for energy and raw materials have bottomed out, rising 1.4 percent and 3.9 percent, respectively, in the first four months compared with the same period last year.
Nearly half of the country's major cities have seen price recoveries in the first four months, he said.
The country's fixed asset investment rose 9.3 percent in the first four months of the year to reach 361.1 billion yuan, according to Qiu.
At the same time, foreign trade volume totaled 137.1 billion U. S. dollars, up 38.8 percent year on year. Of the total, exports amounted to 72.2 billion U.S. dollars, surging 39 percent, and imports increased 38.6 percent to reach 64.9 billion U.S. dollars, with a surplus of 7.4 billion U.S. dollars.
The latest statistics show that the country's revenue in the four-month period hit 406.5 billion yuan, surging 22.8 percent on an annual basis, while expenditures grew by 31.2 percent to 346.4 billion yuan, leaving a surplus of 60.1 billion yuan.
The money in circulation by the end of April amounted to 1.3676 trillion yuan, up 21.8 percent on a monthly basis.
China's financial sector extended more loans between January and April, with a year-on-year increase of 365.2 billion yuan; the sector also saw an increase of 499.4 billion yuan in deposits, with the growth of savings slowing down.
Industrial enterprises throughout China reported 84.7 billion yuan in profits after adjustments for sectional losses, rising 140 percent over the same period of last year.
Industrial added-value reached 694.1 billion yuan in the four months, up 10.9 percent.
The official said that the comprehensive index of economic benefits for industrial enterprises gained 15 percentage points for the period, to reach 101.8 points, the highest in recent years.
He said that "the task of the next phase is to further implement a series of policies and methods including the stimulation of domestic demand."
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