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GDP Up 9.5% in First Half

A National Bureau of Statistics official told a press conference today that the economy continued stable and rapid growth in the first half of this year, with GDP increasing 9.5 percent year on year to 6,742 billion yuan (US$812 billion).

"It was 0.2 percentage points lower than the growth rate for the same period of last year," said bureau spokesperson Zheng Jingping, and the average GDP growth rate over the past 27 years was 9.4 percent.

"Fairly good overall economic performance was recorded in the first half of 2005," said Zheng, attributing this to government efforts at all levels.

Primary industry reported added value of 671 billion yuan (US$81 billion), up 5 percent; secondary industry 3,964 billion yuan (US$479 billion), up 11.2 percent; and tertiary industry 2,108 billion yuan (US$255 billion), up 7.8 percent.

"China's high rate of bank savings, investment, robust market demand and abundant labor guarantee rapid economic development," Zheng said.

Rapid economic growth is needed to solve unemployment and poverty, but he said unsustainable growth is not the goal.

Fixed assets investment reached 3.29 trillion yuan (US$398 billion) in the period. This was a growth rate of 25.4 percent year on year, up 3.2 percentage points.

"The scale of the fixed asset investment is still a bit large," said Zheng.

He said the government would continue its policy to curb fast rising housing prices for the real estate industry to maintain rapid and stable growth.

The consumer price index rose 2.3 percent, lower than the 3.6-percent rise for the same period last year, with increases of 1.9 percent in cities and 2.9 percent in rural areas.

Food prices rose 4.4 percent, housing prices 5.7 percent, and prices for recreation, education and cultural products and services went up 2.7 percent.

"The growth rate of consumer prices slowed steadily with monthly growth at 1.8, 1.8 and 1.6 percent in April, May and June respectively," said Zheng.

Producer prices for industrial products still grew rapidly with an increase of 5.6 percent year on year. The purchase price for raw materials, fuel and power rose 9.9 percent.

Urban residents' disposable income per capita reached 5,374 yuan (US$649) in the period, a year on year increase of 9.5 percent.

Per capita cash income of farmers had a real increase of 12.5 percent to 1,586 yuan (US$192), up 1.6 and 0.8 percentage points respectively on a year earlier.

Foreign trade volume reached US$645 billion, up 23.2 percent, with a surplus of US$39.6 billion.

Zheng said China would continue to have a trade surplus as more than half of its foreign trade is done through export processing.

Of all export processing businesses, foreign-invested companies account for between 50 and 57 percent, he said.

(Xinhua News Agency July 20, 2005)

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