In the first half of this year, China finished a gross domestic product (GDP) of 5.0053 trillion yuan (US$605 billion), up 8.2 percent from the same period last year in constant terms.
Spokesman for the National Bureau of Statistics Yao Jingyuan told a press conference Thursday that although the growth was slower than that in the first quarter, it was still 0.4 percentage points faster than the growth in the same period last year and was one of the fastest growth periods in recent years.
He attributed the growth to the recovery of industrial production, market sales and other major economic indices in last June as well as the strong growth of investment in fixed assets and foreign trade in the first six months.
Statistics show that the added value of the primary industry was 475.4 billion yuan, up 2.7 percent; that of the secondary industry was 2.88 trillion yuan, up 11.6 percent; and that of the tertiary industry was 1.6499 trillion yuan, up 4.2 percent.
More efforts to increase farmer's income
Yao pledged that China would take every measure to increase Chinese farmer's income.
He said that the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) knocked down about one percent of the growth rate of Chinese farmer's income in the first half year.
China has set an objective to help increase farmer's income of four percent in the beginning of the year.
It would be a tough job to fulfill that objective, said Yao.
He said by citing a survey conducted by the NBS saying recently that, dated to June 15, only 23.3 percent of the rural labors who had returned to their hometown during the SARS period went back to the cities.
The reluctance of the rural labors going back to their workplaces would be a major hindrance to the overall increase of the farmer's increase, Yao said.
Yao note that China would pay great attention to the phenomenon and accelerate the rural tax reform process and strengthen the local infrastructure construction to help the farmers increase their income.
Faster import growth poses no negative impact on GDP
Yao said that the faster growth of import indicated by figures for the first half of this year is not expected to pose serious negative impact on gross domestic product (GDP), but the trade surplus of this year would not be as big as that of last year.
The epidemic of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) did not affect the export in the first half of this year because most of the export had been ordered last year or even earlier, according to Yao.
In the coming few months the negative impact will show up, but will not last long as the epidemic has been brought under control.
Statistics show that in the first half of this year China's export was US$190.3 billion, up 34 percent from the same period last year; while the import was US$185.8 billion, up 44.5 percent.
Industrial output maintain fast growth
Yao told the press conference that China's robust industrial output growth still remain fast, dragging up 5.8 percent of the growth rate of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the first half year.
Yao said that the value added output from Chinese large industrial enterprises in the first half year totaled 1836.3 billion yuan (about US$229.5 billion), 16.2 percent more than that of same time last year.
The growth rate of the value added output from Chinese large industrial enterprises also recorded 4.5 percent increase, the fastest growth of the same period since 1994, Yao added.
Major economic indices enjoy fast growth
Despite the negative impact of the severe acute respiratory syndrome, China's major economic indices still enjoyed fast growth, according to half-year NBS statistics.
The statistics show that in the first six months, the total fixed asset investment was 1.9348 trillion yuan (US$234 billion), up 31.1 percent from the same period last year, which was the fastest growth period since 1994.
The total foreign trade volume for the first half year was US$376.1 billion, up 39 percent from the same period last year,of which the export volume was US$190.3, up 34 percent; while the import was US$185.8 billion, up 44.5 percent; the trade surplus was US$4.5 billion, which was US$8.9 billion less than the same period last year.
The contracted volume of foreign direct investment (FDI) was US$51billion, up 40.3 percent from the same period last year; while the actually used FDI was US$30.3, up 34.3 percent.
The consumer sales volume totaled 2.1556 trillion yuan, up 8 percent from the same period last year.
SARS shows impact on economy in 2nd quarter
The negative impact on the country's national economy by the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) started to show symptoms in the second quarter of this year, Yao said.
He noted that the growth rate of China's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) dropped to 6.7 percent in the second quarter, 3.2 percentage points lower than that in the first quarter.
The growth rate of the tertiary industry only climbed 0.8 percent, down 6.1 percent of that of same time last year, Yao added.
The NBS statistics showed that sectors of passenger transportation, catering, social service and tourism are hardest-hit ones by the SARS epidemic.
Passenger transportation volumes dropped 23.9 percent during the time, and the air passenger transportation volume shrank almost half, said the NBS statistics.
The NBS also reported a sharp decrease of the growth rate of the domestic sales, adding that the retail sales of consumption items only increased 6.7 percent, 2.5 percent lower than that of the first quarter.
Quality of China's economic operation further improved
Statistics show that in the first half of this year the quality of China's economic operation was further improved and corporate profit remained at a fairly high level.
According to the statistics, from January to May, industrial enterprises realized an aggregate profit of 291.8 billion yuan (about US$35.28 billion), up 62.8 percent from the same period last year, or 60 percentage points faster than the growth in the same period last year.
Of the 39 major industries, 36 maintain profit growth, of which crude oil and gas mining, transport equipment manufacturing, black metal smelting and rolling, chemical industry and electricity industry enjoyed a profit growth of 72.18 billion yuan, accounting for 64.1 percent of the total industrial profit growth.
The industrial output and sales rates remained at high level, in the first six months the industrial sales rate reached 97.15 percent, or 0.08 percentage points higher than the same period last year.
(Xinhua News Agency July 17, 2003)