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Growth of up to 8.3% forecast for China's GDP
Economists forecast that China's gross domestic product will grow at an annual rate ranging from 7.5 to 8.3 per cent between 2002 and 2006.
They were attending a two-day regional strategic forecasting conference held in Hong Kong by the Economist Corporate Network and attended by 200 business leaders on Tuesday.
They forecast that the world economy would grow by about 4 per cent a year until 2006 - slowed down by the sluggish growth of the United States, the European Union and Japan.
Robin Bew, the network's chief economist, told the conference that economic recovery in the United States has been hampered by a series of corporate scandals and a slump on the equity markets, while the European Union is in danger of entering a double-dip recession.
Lois Dougan Tretiak, vice-president and director of the network for China, said China's growth is particularly driven by increasing consumer spending and exports, and stable investment.
"Consumer spending is rising in China as unemployment falls, and China's welfare net is perceptibly stronger," Tretiak remarked. She estimated that consumer spending would grow by about 7 per cent annually in the years up to 2006.
Connie Bolland, a Hong Kong-based regional economist for the network, told the media that the predictions are good news for the economy of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
She said the current challenge for Hong Kong is to evolve a complementary growth model whereby it can both lead and gain from the mainland's growth, especially in South China.
The Economic Corporate Network is run by the Economist Group, publisher of the British weekly magazine The Economist.
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