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World Bank cuts China's GDP forecast to 6.5%
By Wang Bo (
Updated: 2009-03-18 11:00

The World Bank on Wednesday notched down its projection for China's GDP growth for this year to 6.5 percent, but said the country is still likely to outgrow most other economies.

It would the lowest since 1990, according to the bank's latest quarterly report on the Chinese economy released on Wednesday.

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Premier Wen Jiabao said at the annual session of the National People's Congress concluded last week that the country could achieve an 8 percent GDP growth this year.

The report said that China's government-directed expenditure would contribute a massive 4.9 percentage points to the country's projected overall GDP growth this year, or three fourths of the total.

China released its 4 trillion yuan ($586 billion) stimulus package last November before it initiated more specific stimulus policies for 10 major industries, such as the petrochemical and auto sectors.

The second session of the 11th National People's Congress early this month approved the government's budget of a 950 billion yuan ($139 billion) fiscal deficit for this year to anchor the economy amid the worsening global financial turmoil and economic downturn.

In late November, the bank cut its forecast for China's economic growth in 2009 to 7.5 percent from 9.2 percent, but said the country has "adequate tools" to keep the economy moving at a healthy pace.

As the impacts of the global financial crisis on the world economy unfold, the World Bank has forecast lower growth prospects for most economies. It has just cut its forecast for Vietnam’s growth this year to 5.5 percent from 6.5 percent.

Thanks to sharply reduced overseas demand, China's year-on-year GDP growth in the fourth quarter of 2008 slid to 6.8 percent. Economists said it could be even lower in the first quarter of this year.

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