China's industrial output grew by 16.3 percent in September compared with a year ago to 370.4 billion yuan (US$44.6 billion), the National Bureau of Statistics said Wednesday.
The year-on-year growth rate was 17.1 percent in August and 16.5 percent in July, the bureau said earlier.
For the first nine months, industrial output grew a year-on-year 16.5 percent to 2.89 trillion yuan (US$349.1 billion).
Production by State-owned companies, shareholding companies and foreign-funded companies slowed down in September, but the output of collectively owned companies accelerated, the bureau said, without giving any reasons.
The bureau said five major industrial sectors were the major contributors to the whole industrial sector: electronics and telecommunications equipment, machinery, transportation equipment, ferrous metals and chemicals.
The five sectors contributed 8.5 percentage points to September's industrial growth, the bureau said.
The output of cars surged 69.7 percent in September from a year earlier to 191,300 vehicles, while output of all kinds of vehicles rose a year-on-year 36.8 percent to 427,600.
China generated 158.5 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity in September, up 15.5 percent, the bureau said.
Exports handled in September by the industrial sector were worth 241.7 billion yuan (US$29.1 billion), a year-on-year increase of 26.1 percent.
Wang Zhao, a researcher with the State Council's Development Research Center, said the rapid industrial growth suggested the country's economy has maintained a healthy development momentum.
"Production will continue to grow at a higher rate in the remaining months of this year," he said.
The robust fixed-asset investment expected this year will benefit heavy industry such as cement and steel, while the relatively stable consumer demand will benefit light industry such as companies producing air-conditioners and washing machines, he said.
"The rapid industrial growth will keep the country's economy growing at a higher rate this year," Wang said.
He added that the industrial output contributed more than 50 percent to overall gross domestic product.
The bureau is expected to release the GDP figure for the first nine months tomorrow. Earlier figures suggest the country's economy grew a year-on-year 8.2 percent during the first half of this year.
Yao Jingyuan, a spokesman for the statistics bureau, said China is capable of meeting this year's economic-growth goal of 7 percent, set at the beginning of the year.
But researchers at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences said China's economy could even grow by 8 percent this year, despite the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).
The influence of SARS on China's social and economic development has not been as great as the impact of the Asian financial crisis in 1997, said one researcher who refused to be named.
(China Daily October 16, 2003)