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China stimulus good for global economy: Zoellick
Updated: 2008-12-15 20:52

The World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick said on Monday that despite its recent slowing growth, the Chinese economy continues to play a key stabilizing role as other economies around the world come to terms with the effects of a global recession.

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"The most important thing that China can do for global stability at this point is to keep its own economy growing well," Zoellick told a gathering of national and international media during his second visit to China as World Bank President.

"That won't be easy given the downturn in international trade that China is already experiencing. This is why China's welcome efforts to stimulate the domestic economy will be so important in the months ahead."

Zoellick said recent reductions in food and commodity prices would provide welcome relief to millions of people on or below the poverty line while also cutting the risk of inflation. "This should also help boost prospects for the domestic economy," he said.

Zoellick discussed the financial crisis and its impact on China's economy with Chinese leaders on Monday. "On the 30th anniversary of its economic reforms, China plays a critical role in the global economy. China's efforts to boost domestic demand are good for the global economy," he said.

But Zoellick warned that as the world is pouring increasing amounts of liquidity into the financial system, it might create bubbles in the longer term. "The financial authorities have been putting in a great deal of liquidity into the monetary system. It's good for the short term, but it could in some point fuel another bubble," he said in an interview with China Daily on Sunday.

At the meetings with Chinese leaders, Zoellick commended them for China's remarkable rescue and relief efforts following the earthquake, which devastated areas of Sichuan, Gansu and Shaanxi in May. Before meeting with state leaders in Beijing, Zoellick visited the town of Beichuan in Sichuan province where he met with provincial officials and laid a wreath in remembrance of the more than 69,000 people who died and 18,000 who are still missing as a result of the earthquake and after shocks.

In Beichuan, Zoellick was able to see the early results of an approach to recovery that China has developed in which reconstruction in the 18 most extremely affected counties in Sichuan is being financed by domestic sources from "provincial twinning partners". Shandong Province is designated as the partner for Beichuan County.

The World Bank is finalizing a $710 million loan – expected to be considered by the World Bank Board for its approval next month – to support China's reconstruction effort in areas severely-affected by the earthquake. The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, has already signed an agreement to provide equity support for increased loans to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) affected by the earthquake.

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