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NBS: China's economy is not overheating
( 2004-01-21 10:23) (Agencies)

China's top statistician has denied that the country's economy is overheating, and abrupt changes to economic policy were unnecessary.

Li Deshui, commissioner of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), said Tuesday that China's gross domestic product in 2003 grew 9.1 per cent to 11.669 trillion yuan (about US$1.4 trillion).

The highest growth since 1997 was driven mainly by surges in capital investment, Li acknowledged. However, the government successfully kept inflation at a "normal" level of 1.2 per cent.

He went on to say that the country had fulfilled its policy goals of employment growth and balance of payments last year. These major indicators showed that the economy should not be considered to be overheating.

But he admitted that certain areas and certain industries did appear to be overheating.

China consumed 36 per cent of the world's total steel supply, 30 per cent of coal and 55 per cent of cement last year, reflecting lowefficiency compared with the developed nations. Shortages emerged in electric power, coal, petroleum and transport supply, forming new bottlenecks in the economy.

In order to cope with these problems, Li went on, the Chinese government had taken a series of measures to guide the economy in the direction of inclusive, coordinated and sustainable development.

This year and in the years ahead, China would seek rapid economic growth along with a balance between social and economic development, Li said.

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