Economy grows 9.7% in the first half of the year
China's economy roared ahead in the first half of the year, expanding by 9.7 percent compared with the same period of 2003, the National Bureau of Statistics spokesman Zheng Jingping said Friday.
The growth rate, far above the official 2004 target of 7 percent, is the fastest since 1997. But the figures were below analysts' forecasts of a 10.6 percent rise, suggesting that government efforts to rein in the surging growth are working.
Economic output in the first six months of the year totaled US$711.5 billion, the National Bureau of Statistics reported.
Consumer prices rose 3.6 percent in the first half of the year, the bureau said. That was below the 5 percent level that officials have said might prompt the central bank to consider raising interest rates for the first time in nine years.
China's economy grew 9.1 percent last year. Booming expansion in some industries such as steel, cement and construction have strained energy and transport, pushing prices higher.
Authorities have tightened bank lending in an effort to curb speculative
investments that they blame for rising inflation.
The growth rate was 8.4 percentage points higher than last year,the fastest growth since 1997, said Zheng.
From January to June, the disposable income of urban residents reached 4,815
yuan, up 11.9 percent, or 8.7 percent accounting forinflation, over the same
period of last year, Zheng said. The urban growth rate was up 0.3 percentage