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Fixed asset investment grows 26.8% in 1st 11 months
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China's urban fixed-asset investment rose 26.8 percent year-on-year in the first 11 months of 2007, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said Friday.


The figure indicates that several attempts to cool investment, such as higher interest rates, have had little impact. Fixed-asset investment was up 26.9 percent in the first 10 months of the year.


Urban fixed-asset investment stood at 10.06 trillion yuan (1.36 trillion U.S. dollars) for the 11 months, said the NBS. Figures for November alone, however, were not broken out separately.


Wang Tongsan, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), said the latest figures indicated that investment was declining at a slow but steady pace.


"The figure was based upon the already high growth rate for the first ten months," said Song Guoqing, a researcher with Peking University.


He added, however, the figures also showed the government's tightening measures had done little to curb fixed asset investment, and he said he expected the government to beef up its tightening efforts in a bid to prevent investment from expanding further.

Investment in state-owned and state-controlled enterprises was 4.39 trillion yuan, up 16.3 percent, down from 16.6 percent for the first 10 months.


Investment by the central government eased, expanding just 12.8 percent year-on-year, compared with 13.8 percent for the first 10 months. Local governments, however, showed no change, with their investment rising 28.6 percent, matching the figure for the first 10 months.


Real estate investment actually accelerated slightly, expanding by 31.8 percent year-on-year, compared with 31.4 percent for the first 10 months, to 2.16 trillion yuan.


Primary industry (farming, fishing, forestry and the like) continued to grow the fastest among industrial sectors, expanding 37.6 percent during the first 11 months. That compared with secondary and tertiary industries, whose investment rose 29.7 percent and 24.4 percent, respectively.


The first 11 months saw the kickoff of 211,127 new projects, 24,124 more than the same period last year. Planned investment in these new projects was 7.36 trillion yuan, up 28 percent.


The fixed asset investment was the latest among a set of figures published by the Chinese government this week that gives an insight into the current overall performance of the national economy.


The country's trade surplus eased a little from the record 27.05 billion U.S. dollars for October to 26.28 billion U.S. dollars in November, according to figures released by the General Administration of Customs earlier this week.


Investment and foreign trade are two major engines of China's sizzling economy, which is forecasted to score a double-digit growth for a fifth consecutive year in 2007, and both showed robust momentum.


The NBS also said earlier this week China's key inflation indicator, the consumer price index, surged to an 11-year high of 6.9 percent in November.


The strong inflation data have prompted analysts to anticipate China's central bank may soon act with more tightening measures, for instance raising interest rates again.


China has raised interest rates five times so far this year, and lifted the bank reserve ratio 10 times.


China is set to adopt "tight" monetary policy in 2008, a shift from a prudent approach it has followed for the last ten years. The government said the policy change was aimed at preventing the economy from becoming overheated and guarding against a shift from structural price rises to evident inflation.


(Xinhua News Agency December 14, 2007)

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