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Industrial Output on Fast Track: NBS
China's industrial output continued to grow strongly in January, the National Bureau of Statistics said yesterday.

Last month, industrial output reached 266.2 billion yuan (US$32.1 billion), an increase of 14.8 per cent on the same month last year.

The growth rate fell short of the 14.9 percent growth rate achieved in December, but was higher than the 12.6 per cent recorded for the whole of 2002.

In January, car production rose 120 percent year-on-year to 127,000, while output of all types of vehicles rose 55.5 percent to 325,000, the bureau said.

China has the fastest-growing auto market in the world, with annual sales of passenger cars rising by 56 percent last year to top the 1 million mark for the first time.

The bureau also said output of computers, mobile phones and integrated circuits grew between 27.1 percent and 80.2 percent in January.

Heavy industry generated 164.9 billion yuan (US$19.9 billion) of industrial output in January, an increase of 16 percent from a year ago, the bureau said.

Light industry produced 101.3 billion yuan (US$12.2 billion) of industrial output, an increase of 13.1 percent, it said.

Last month, exports from the industrial sector reached 157.6 billion yuan (US$19 billion), a year-on-year increase of 25.4 percent.

Industrial output is an important indicator of China's economic development, because it contributes about 60 percent of the gross domestic product.

Zhang Xueying, a senior economist with the State Information Center, said this year domestic investment and consumption as well as exports will continue to influence the industrial sector and the whole economy.

"The country will continue to witness strong fixed asset investment this year," he said. "This will benefit heavy industries, which are expected to sell more goods such as steel and cement."

More foreign investment would also flow into China because of the country's accession to the World Trade Organization, its steady economic growth and sound social order.

Meanwhile, domestic consumption, which mainly benefits light industry such as producers of air conditioners and color televisions, will develop at a rapid pace.

Liu Nanchang, deputy head of the General Economic Affairs Department at the State Economic and Trade Commission, said China's industrial output is expected to rise by about 10 per cent this year, led by the automobile and electronics sectors.

Earlier, a report from the Macro Economic Research Institute under the State Development Planning Commission said the Chinese economy was likely to grow between 7.6 and 7.8 percent this year.

The central government's goal to bring greater prosperity to the Chinese people in the coming two decades will greatly s increase confidence for the future, the report said.

(China Daily February 19, 2003)

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