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Top Statistician Sees Solid Growth Next Year

China is set for another year of robust growth and low inflation in 2006 but excessive investment is a risk, the country's top statistician said.

Yao Jingyuan, chief economist at the National Bureau of Statistics, said the underlying momentum of the economy was strong and gross domestic product would grow by more than 9 percent this year and by 8 to 9 percent in 2006.

Yao said consumer price inflation, after averaging about 2 percent this year, would remain benign in 2006.

Peking University economics professor Justin Lin said last Saturday that China could relapse into the deflation that plagued the economy as recently as 2002.

But Yao said after his speech: "My personal view is the possibility of deflation is very small."

However, he said inflationary pressure would remain muted next year.

One of the main reasons economists expect inflation to stay low is that breakneck investment in recent years has led to oversupply in many sectors, robbing producers of pricing power.

(Shenzhen Daily November 22, 2005)

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