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Exports Boost Nation's Industrial Figures
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China's industrial output grew 16 percent year-on-year in August, fuelled largely by booming exports and strong fixed asset investment.


The National Bureau of Statistics said yesterday that August's industrial output reached 596.8 billion yuan (US$73.6 billion).


For the first eight months, industrial output rose 16.3 percent year-on-year to 4.4 trillion yuan (US$543.9 billion), the bureau said.


Zhang Xueying, a senior economist with the State Information Centre, said August's industrial output had been growing rapidly.


"This is mainly due to strong exports and the relatively fast growth of fixed asset investment," he said.


The government is scheduled to release August's fixed asset investment figures today. Earlier figures suggest, however, that investment rose 27.2 percent year-on-year during the first seven months.


Last month, exports rose 32.1 percent to US$67.8 billion, figures from China's General Administration of Customs show.


The growth of industrial output will slow down month by month for the rest of this year, because a series of macro-control measures, implemented in the later half of 2004, will start to impact on fixed asset investment, Zhang said.


"This means the country's economic growth will also slow down, since industrial output usually contributes about 50 percent to the gross domestic product," he said.


Vice-Premier Zeng Peiyan said earlier this month that the country's economy would grow 9 percent this year, declining from the 9.5 percent rate recorded during the January-June period.


Zhuang Jian, a senior economist with the Asian Development Bank's resident mission in China, said there were some early signs that the industrial output growth has slowed, although August's figures did not change much compared with that in July.


July's industrial output rose 16.1 percent from a year ago.


However, the industrial output growth will not drop abruptly, he said.


"The economy is likely to grow 9.2 percent this year," he added.


According to the bank's earlier prediction, China's economy will also grow about 9 percent next year, supported by rising incomes and consumption.


But a number of risks, including the constraint in energy supplies, weakness in the banking system and over-capacity in some industries, will have negative impacts on the economy, he said.


Wang Zhao, a senior researcher with the State Council Development Research Centre, said the government should not take further tightening measures for the rest of the year, in order to ensure the economy can grow rapidly for a while longer.


"I don't see any signs that the central bank has relaxed its credit controls," he said.


China's broad money supply, or M2, rose 17.3 percent year-on-year in August, and outstanding renminbi loans rose 13.4 percent in the same month.


"The risk of an economic slowdown is bigger than an inflation for the rest of this year," he said.


Zheng Jingping, spokesman for the National Bureau of Statistics, said earlier this year that China's economy, fuelled by the fast-growing fixed asset investment and big inflow of foreign direct investment, is capable of maintaining an annual growth rate of 8 to 9 percent in the coming 5 to 10 years.


(China Daily September 15, 2005)


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