China targets eight percent growth rate in 2008

March 5th, 2008 - 8:01 pm ICT by admin  

Beijing, March 5 (Xinhua) China will slow down its economic growth to eight percent this year after five consecutive years of double-digit growth in gross domestic product (GDP), Prime Minister Wen Jiabao said Wednesday. “On the basis of improving the economic structure, productivity, energy efficiency and environmental protection, the GDP should grow by about eight percent,” Wen said in his report to the first session of the 11th National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s parliament, which opened here Wednesday.

This is the fourth year that China has fixed its GDP growth target at 8 percent.

“We should promote both sound and fast economic and social development,” Wen said.

China’s economy registered an average annual growth rate of 10.6 percent over the past five years to become the world’s fourth largest economy.

Last year, the country’s GDP grew 11.4 percent year-on-year to 24.6619 trillion yuan ($3.43 trillion), but the risks of spiralling inflation and overheating of the economy were also rising.

“For five years running, China’s actual GDP rise has topped its growth targets and each year the actual growth rate exceeded 10 percent,” said NPC deputy Mao Weiming.

He said this year’s target was reasonable and showed the government had taken into consideration various domestic and international factors, including overheating risks.

Last year, China’s consumer price index (CPI), the main gauge of inflation, rose 4.8 percent year-on-year, well above the 3 percent target.

In January, the monthly CPI rose by 7.1 percent, a result of price increases during the Chinese Lunar New Year and the severest winter in central, southern and eastern China in five decades.

Against the backdrop of the CPI rises, the severe winter that caused a loss of at least 111.1 billion yuan ($15.43 billion), the US subprime crisis and the soaring oil prices on the international market, China’s economy faces “unprecedented challenges” this year, analysts say.

But chief economist Yao Jingyuan of the National Bureau of Statistics said China’s GDP growth would still exceed the targeted eight percent this year despite “slight slowdowns” from last year.

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