World Bank cuts 2008 China growth forecast to 9.4%

Updated: 2008-04-01 12:57

The World Bank (WB) cut its forecast for China's 2008 economic growth to 9.4 percent in a report released on Tuesday. In February, it forecast 9.6 percent.

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Louis Kuijs, senior economist of the World Bank's Beijing office, said the adjustment was made purely out of concerns over external factors of the Chinese economy.

As the world economy had slowed more rapidly in the past two months, this had a negative impact on the growth of Chinese exports, Kuijs explained.

In February, the bank also attributed its previous cut forecast to slowing external demand.

Kuijs said he was still optimistic about the domestic performance of the Chinese economy and was confident of expected powerful investment and robust consumption domestically.

The latest WB report said despite falling U.S. import growth and rising volatility in global financial markets, China was expected to continue to perform strongly on rising domestic investment and consumption growth.

In 2007, the country's economy expanded 11.4 percent, the highest increase in 13 years and also the fifth year of double-digit growth.

The WB report, "East Asia and Pacific Update", is a six-month review of the region's economies.

It also said that growth in developing East Asia would fall by around 1 to 2 percentage points to around 8.5 percent in 2008 as a result of the unfolding financial turmoil in the United States and the resulting global slowdown.

Economies in the region reported a combined 10.2 percent growth in 2007, the highest in a decade.

According to the report, East Asia, especially China, has increasingly become a "growth pole" in the world economy, acting as a counterweight to the slowing industrial economies.

"The overall growth remains healthy across the East Asia and Pacific region", the bank said.

Most countries were well positioned to navigate the global slowdown on back of the investments they had made over the past 10 years in structural reforms and putting sound macroeconomic policies in place, it added.

It warned the real challenge for governments in the region was the inflationary effect of mounting food and fuel prices, especially the harsh burden imposed on the poor.

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