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China to See Hefy Investment Growth in 2007
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China is expected to see hefty investment growth again this year even though urban fixed assets investments grew more slowly in the first two months of the year, according to a think tank report.

The Institute of Investment of the National Development and Reform Commission, China's top planner, predicted on Monday that the year's total investment would grow 21 percent, a dip of only three percentage points from last year.

The growth rate of urban fixed assets investment is expected to drop 1.5 percentage points, but still hover at a high level of 23 percent, it said.

Official figures showed that total fixed assets investment over the first two months surged 23.4 percent year-on-year to 653.5 billion yuan (about US$86 billion).

Investment in the real estate sector, however, surged 27 percent, a rise of 5.6 percentage points year-on-year.

"Sound investment growth hinges on the healthy growth of the real estate industry. It's too early to tell whether the investment hike in real estate is rebounding from the end of last year or gaining momentum for another big rise," noted the report.

Real estate investment grew 22 percent last year. This year the growth rate is estimated at 25 percent, while investment in manufacturing and transportation were expected to grow 27 percent and 29 percent respectively.

Apart from the real estate industry, the report noted, transportation, telecommunication equipment manufacturing and metallurgy would also be major driving forces for investment.

The world's fourth-largest economy, powered more by investment and exports than by domestic consumption, has maintained double-digit growth for four consecutive years.

"It is impossible to change the pattern in the short term," said the report.

To optimize its economic structure, China needs an annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate higher than nine percent, it noted.

The State Information Center under the State Council has raised its forecast for the GDP growth rate from 10.2 percent to around 11 percent in the first quarter.

(Xinhua News Agency April 3, 2007)

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