Fixed asset investment increased by 24 percent year-on-year last year, two
percentage points less than a year earlier.
Investment growth has slowed in recent years as the authorities have
introduced measures to keep the economy from coming to a boil.
Urban fixed asset investment grew at a year-on-year pace of 24.5 percent, 2.7
percentage points less than a year earlier. The slowing trend was especially
obvious last month, when the rate was 13.8 percent.
Overall investment in fixed assets like property and infrastructure grew by
29.8 percent in the first half of last year. The figure was 25.7 percent in 2005
and 26.4 percent in 2004.
Xie Fuzhan, director of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), attributed
the slower pace to the tightening measures the government had put in place to
rein in areas like real estate investment, lending and market entry.
"The structure of investment has also improved," he said, adding that
investment in some industries suffering from over-capacity had also slowed.
However, the large amount of excess liquidity in the economy has also put
pressure on investment growth. Xie said it remains a serious problem for Chinese
China's broad measure of the money supply, or M2, which reflects the overall
state of money supply in the country, grew by 16.9 percent year on year last
year, which was slightly less than the 2005 level. Considering the huge amount
of money already in the market in 2005, however, the growth rate was still
impressive, analysts said.
Despite the slowdown in fixed asset investment growth last year, the current
level could still cause problems.
Liu Wei, dean of Peking University's School of Economics, calculated that a
fixed asset growth rate of 23 percent would be appropriate for the Chinese
economy. Any more than that could squeeze out consumption and have an adverse
effect on the economy.
The central economic work conference last December called for balanced growth
in investment and consumption.
The downward trend of late 2006 is expected to continue into this year, at
least in the first quarter, economists predicted.
Song Guoqing, an economist with Peking University's China Center for Economic
Research, said the growth rate of fixed asset investment would definitely be
lower than last year.
"It would be considered high if it hit 20 percent," Song said.
Wang Jian, secretary-general of the Chinese Academy of Macroeconomy, told a
recent economic forum that the figure in the second half of this year could even
be as low as 15 percent.
Investment in property development, a major engine of the country's economic
growth, increased by 21.8 percent last year, or 0.9 percentage points more than
the previous year, according to the NBS.
Still, in some big cities, investment growth seems uncontrollable despite the
In Beijing, for example, investment in property development accounted for
more than half of all investment, according to a municipal government
Although the central government has taken a series of policies to stabilize
house prices, property prices still increased by 5.5 percent in 70 major cities
(China Daily 01/26/2007 page4)