China wins applause as economic recovery accelerates

0 CommentsPrint E-mail Xinhua, December 21, 2009
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China's economic data for November, with some key indicators beating market expectations, have sent clear signals that China's economic recovery is accelerating and broadening.

As a "rainbow" of the recovery emerges at the end of 2009, China has been won applause at home and abroad.

Hard hit

At Yuhang, an export-oriented district in eastern Zhejiang Province, one of China's export hubs, Party chief Zhu Jinkun was smiling and composed.

But at the beginning of this year, things were quite different.

"I was very frightened at that time. I feared of factory closure or production suspension, which meant workers would lose their jobs. It could cause social instability," he recalled.

Yuhang is home to nearly 9,000 enterprises which hire more than 800,000 workers. As one of most economically-developed and export-oriented counties in Zhejiang and China at large, it was also one of the hardest hit county-level economies amid the financial crisis.

When overseas demand slumped in the first quarter, 908 out of Yuhang's 2,077 large industrial enterprises (those with annual revenue of more than 5 million yuan, or 732,000 U.S. dollars) suffered loss, according to Zhu.

"Yuhang's GDP edged up only 1 percent in the first quarter. We had not seen this for decades," said the 53-year-old official.

Yuhang was then part of a gloomy national economy as slump overseas demand crippled China's essential export and related manufacturing activities.

Nationwide, tens of thousands of companies closed down, forcing millions of migrant workers out of job. Consumers' and investors' confidence dived to record low in more than 10 years.

That was why quite a few people remained suspicious when Premier Wen Jiabao said in March that China aimed to achieve about 8-percent GDP growth in 2009, which the government has long believed is essential to generate enough.

In the first quarter, China's GDP rose 6.1 percent year on year, the lowest since the introduction of quarterly GDP figures in the fourth quarter of 1999.

But also in the first quarter, China began implementing its massive economic stimulus package, featuring a two-year investment plan worth 4 trillion yuan (585.6 billion U.S. dollars), which was adopted in November last year, right after the outbreak of the financial crisis. It also adopted more pro-growth economic policies such as expanding the "home appliances to the countryside" program.

Also in the first quarter, China pumped 4.58 trillion yuan new loans to stimulate the economy, about 90 percent of the annual target of 5 trillion yuan.

Jia Kang, president of the Institute of Fiscal Science of the Ministry of Finance, said as the financial crisis battered the export, China moved to boost investment in infrastructure such as high-speed railways and domestic consumption like car sales, so as to drive economic growth.

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