China's gross domestic product (GDP) will exceed 20 trillion yuan (US$2.55
trillion) this year, a year-on-year increase of 10.5 per cent, the country's top
economic planner said over the weekend.
The economy has maintained a "momentum of stable and fast development" this
year, Ma Kai, minister of the National Development and Reform Commission, told
an annual national assembly of heads of local development and reform
Growth was robust in the first three quarters: 10.3 per cent, 11.3 per cent
and 10.4 per cent; and it will be the fourth consecutive year GDP growth has
hovered around 10 per cent.
Consumer prices are likely to rise 1.3 per cent and more than 10.5 million
jobs will be created this year, Ma said.
With a slowdown in urban fixed asset investment, Ma said macro-economic
controls imposed by the central government are beginning to take effect.
Fixed asset investment in cities rose 26.6 per cent from January to November,
4.5 percentage points lower than in the first half of the year.
Despite this, the overall scale of construction remains mammoth, Ma said.
It is estimated that projects under construction this year would be worth 32
trillion yuan (US$4.08 trillion), an increase of 5 trillion yuan (US$639
billion) over the previous year.
"The relentless investment increase has yet to be stopped," Ma said, blaming
some local governments and banks for fanning investment expansion.
Maintaining a stable economy and avoiding large fluctuations remain key
objectives of macro controls, Ma said.
Lowering energy consumption and reducing pollutant discharge are also an
important part of economic restructuring, he said.
The country has set a target of reducing energy consumption by 20 per pent
for each unit of GDP; and 10 per cent of main pollutants by 2010.
However, official figures show that energy consumption per unit of GDP rose
0.8 per cent in the first half of this year, posing barriers to achieving this
year's targets, Ma said.
He vowed to get tough with any illegal construction that fails to get
government approval in terms of land-use rights and environment protection.
Energy-saving appraisals will also be required for approval of projects, Ma
He said that in collaboration with the National Bureau of Statistics and the
State Environmental Protection Administration, the commission is formulating a
scientific energy consumption reduction index system as well as assessment and
surveillance systems to prod local officials to meet energy use reduction goals.
Steel, non-ferrous metals, coal, electricity, oil refinery and construction
materials will be under special scrutiny.
(China Daily 12/11/2006 page1)