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China to set strategy for 8% GDP growth


Special Report: Global Financial Crisis

    BEIJING, Dec. 3 -- China's top economic policy makers will meet next week to decide how to secure growth of at least 8 percent, outpacing the World Bank's more pessimistic forecast, government officials said Tuesday.

    The annual Central Economic Work Conference, scheduled for Monday through Wednesday, will tackle ways to implement the recently adopted "expansive" fiscal policy and "moderately easy" monetary policy, officials said.

    Also on Tuesday, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences predicted that China's economy could sustain growth of around 9 percent next year because of the concerted world effort to counter the financial crisis.

    Annual growth in gross domestic product slowed to 9 percent in the third quarter and is expected to end the year at about the same level, compared with last year's 11.9 percent.

    The minimum growth rate that China needs to absorb the millions of people entering the workforce every year is widely regarded to be 8 percent.

    The top priority for next year is to maintain steady economic growth, said officials attending a recent preliminary meeting for the yearly economic summit. They noted that the central government has set next year's economic growth target at above 8 percent, the Shanghai Securities News reported yesterday, citing unnamed sources.

    The meeting was attended by members of the Communist Party of China's politburo.

    "Amid the grim outlook for the world economy, sustaining growth will no doubt become the theme of this year's Central Economic Work Conference," said one of the officials attending the session.

    The target set by the government was higher than the World Bank's forecast of a 7.5-percent increase next year.

    Other economists were more optimistic.

    Zhang Liqun, a researcher at the State Council, or China's Cabinet, said the nation's economy may grow 10 percent next year because of "the huge potential for domestic consumption and investment."

    Zuo Xiaolei, an analyst at China Galaxy Securities Co, said the country should have no problem achieving 8-percent expansion next year.

    "If we try hard enough, it could even be 9 percent," Zuo said.

    To spur growth, China last month unveiled a massive 4-trillion-yuan (US$586 billion) stimulus package and slashed loan interest rates by the most since 1997.

    Li Maoyu, a Changjiang Securities Co analyst, said this year's conference was not likely to announce additional major policies as the government has taken strong actions over the past few months.

    "The conference may focus on studying the effectiveness of the existing policies and then decide what to do next," Li said.

    (Source: CRIENGLISH. com)