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Economists Expect Strong GDP Growth in 2005

A survey of 50 leading Chinese economists shows that the majority expect China's gross domestic product to grow by more than 8 percent in 2005, compared with an estimated 9 percent this year, The results of the survey, released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Tuesday, indicated that most of the respondents believe that the government's macroeconomic tightening measures will have a slowing effect on growth.

Eighty-one percent of the experts forecast GDP growth will top 8 percent. About half of those put the figure at 8.5 to 9 percent, and nearly 25 percent expect growth of more than 9 percent. The average forecast growth rate for the entire group was 8.4 percent, according to the NBS.

About 70 percent of the respondents predicted 9 percent growth for the current year.

They forecast a growth rate of 27 percent in capital asset investment for 2004, slightly below the first-half figure and down 15 percentage points from the first quarter. They put next years' growth rate at 24 percent.

About 45 percent of the experts were optimistic about consumer spending, anticipating an increase next year, while 50 percent expect the figure to stay flat with the current year.

Real estate is expected to remain an important driver of consumption in 2005. Half of the economists surveyed expect real estate prices to rise in 2005, 29 percent believe they will stay level, and the remainders are looking for price declines.

The experts also pointed out some persistent problems, such as coal, electric power and oil supply, a shortage of capital in some enterprises and deep-rooted structural problems.

(Xinhua News Agency October 20, 2004)

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