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GDP expands 10.4% in first half year
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China's gross domestic product (GDP) grew 10.4 percent to 13.06 trillion yuan (1.9 trillion U.S. dollars) in the first half over the same period last year, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on Thursday.

The growth rate was 1.8 percentage points lower than the first half last year, or 0.2 percentage points lower than the first quarter of this year.

The GDP included 1.18 trillion yuan generated by the primary sector, up 3.5 percent, 6.74 trillion yuan by the secondary sector, up 11.3 percent, and 5.14 trillion yuan by the tertiary sector, up 10.5 percent. The growth rates were 0.5 percentage points, 2.4 percentage points, and 1.6 percentage points, respectively, lower than the first half last year.

The bureau's chief economist, Yao Jingyuan, said the double-digit GDP growth indicated China's economy was still growing at a steady and relatively fast pace.

"The cooling of GDP growth indicated the government's macro-economic policy to prevent the economy from overheating has paid off," said Yao.

Last year, GDP grew 11.4 percent year-on-year with the risks of spiraling inflation and economic overheating rising. To cool the breakneck growth, China fixed its GDP growth target at 8 percent for 2008.

The slowing world economy and weaker demand on international markets also adversely affected the economy, Yao added.

NBS spokesman Li Xiaochao said on Thursday that the economic growth was "in line with macro-economic control targets" and was "achieved with painstaking efforts".

GDP grew by 11.3 percent in the fourth quarter last year, 10.6 percent in the first quarter this year and 10.1 percent in the second quarter.

"China avoided major ups and downs in economic growth in the first half of the year, with growth slowing steadily," said Li.

With on-going industrialization and urbanization, China's economy would remain robust and vigorous, as the need to narrow regional disparities would continue providing opportunity for growth.

(Xinhua News Agency July 17, 2008)

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