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GDP up 9.4% on back of spending
By Su Bei (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-10-21 05:44

Rising consumer spending coupled with strong fixed-asset investment helped China's economy grow by a sizzling 9.4 per cent year-on-year in the third quarter, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said yesterday.

The gross domestic product, which stood at 10.6 trillion yuan (US$1.3 trillion) during the period, continued to maintain steady and rapid growth, NBS spokesman Zheng Jingping said.

The third quarter's figure follows similar stellar growth of 9.5 per cent in the second quarter and 9.4 per cent in the first.

Retail sales, an important indicator of consumption, rose 13 per cent year-on-year to 4.5 trillion yuan (US$554.8 billion) during the first three quarters of this year, as people increased spending on goods such as cars and mobile phones and services such as air travel.

Domestically-made passenger vehicle sales grew by 16.8 per cent in the first three quarters to 2.8 million units from a year ago.

The world's largest mobile-phone maker Nokia said its sales in China jumped 76 per cent to 7.4 million handsets in the second quarter.

China Eastern, the country's third-largest carrier, said yesterday that it flew 2.51 million passengers last month, 55 per cent more than a year earlier.

Zhuang Jian, a senior economist with the Asian Development Bank's resident mission in China, said sales were boosted by rising household incomes and stable prices.

Per capita disposable income of urban residents rose 9.8 per cent in real terms to 7,902 yuan (US$974) during the first three quarters, while per capita net income of rural residents rose 11.9 per cent to 2,450 yuan (US$302).

China's fixed-asset investment rose 26.1 per cent year-on-year to 5.7 trillion yuan (US$702.8 billion) during the January-September period, while net exports stood at US$68.3 billion.

The country's economy will continue to grow at a high rate for the rest of this year, Zheng said.

The Asian Development Bank earlier predicted that China's economy would grow 9.2 per cent this year, while the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences forecast it would grow 9.4 per cent. For the whole year, "economic growth should be 9 per cent or slightly higher," Zheng said.

Due to a number of positive factors, China is capable of maintaining high growth rates for a long time, he said, but warned that the economy will also face a number of difficulties such as constraints in energy supplies and weakness in the agriculture sector.

(China Daily 10/21/2005 page1)

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