There are also many issues and problems currently affecting economic performance. The most conspicuous ones are as follows:
First, the danger of rapid economic growth becoming overheated growth cannot be ignored. The risk of overheated investment is great, with fixed asset investment rising by 24.8% in 2007, which is still too fast. Many local governments are keen to expand investment, resulting in a large number of newly started projects and projects built in violation of regulations. There is an excessive supply of money and credit. The trade surplus is still increasing.
Second, there are strong inflationary pressures. The consumer price index (CPI) continued to rise, gaining 4.8% for the year and exceeding the 3% target set early last year. Prices for major primary products continued to increase in the international market, directly putting upward pressure on domestic prices. Prices for the means of production are rising ever faster, and housing prices are continuing their rapid ascent.
Third, we are still faced with the daunting task of saving energy and reducing emissions. Heavy industries, especially energy-intensive and highly polluting ones, are growing too fast. The systems and mechanisms and policies measures for promoting energy saving and emission reduction need to be improved, enterprises do not have enough motivation to close down backward production facilities, installment of pollution control facilities is not keeping up with requirements and oversight and punishment are not effective, allowing illegal pollution to remain a common phenomenon.
Fourth, maintaining a steady pace in agricultural development and continuing to increase farmer incomes have grown more difficult. Agriculture as the foundation of the economy remains weak, the difficulty of protecting farmland is daunting and development of agriculture has become further restrained by insufficient resources, environmental impact and market conditions. Moreover, it has grown more difficult to balance supply and demand of farm products, institutional obstacles still make it hard for rural residents to find nonagricultural jobs and efforts to improve public services in rural areas have not made good progress.
Fifth, there are still many problems related to the people's well being that demand our immediate attention. There is considerable pressure on employment, and development of education, culture, health and other basic public services has failed to meet the needs of the people. There are still quite a few problems related to the social safety net, income distribution, housing supply, the quality and safety of products, workplace safety and public security. The disastrous snow and ice storms that have been hitting southern China since mid-January this year have inflicted enormous damage on people's lives and property as well as on industrial and agricultural production, and post-disaster recovery is going to be a daunting task.
We must take vigorous measures and work hard to solve the above problems.