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Shanghai's economy may slow down
( 2004-01-09 15:13) (eastday.com)

Shanghai's economy growth may slow down a little this year due to shortages of power and raw materials, government officials said Thursday.

"Shortages of energy and raw materials may restrain industrial output this year," Xu Jianguo, director of the Shanghai Economic Commission, told a press conference yesterday.

"Export growth is likely to slow down. That will also influence local manufacturers' sales this year," he added.

The Shanghai Economic Commission is worried that increased business costs will hold back the city's development.

"It's an unavoidable conflict between development of the city and its industries," Xu said.

Meanwhile, the Shanghai Statistics Bureau announced yesterday that the city's economy grew at a double digit rate for the 12th straight year in 2003, although it won't release complete GDP figures until after January 15.

Statistics available now for industrial output, fixed asset investment and exports suggest Shanghai's economy remains healthy.

"All major economic indices met their targets made at the beginning of the year," said Chen Yongqi, a researcher with the Shanghai Statistics Bureau. "Some sectors saw record high growth rates last year."

Shanghai's industrial output topped 1 trillion yuan (US$120.5 billion) last year. Its annual growth rate of 31.4 per cent was the fastest since the country began its reform drive in the 1980s.

The rise was supported by the rapid expansion of the auto manufacturing, electronics and information technology industries.

Meanwhile, fixed-asset investment increased 12.1 per cent from a year earlier to reach 245.2 billion yuan, which is also a record high.

Spending on infrastructure construction projects rose 18.3 per cent last year.

Industrial investment jumped 16.2 per cent last year from 2002, accounting for 40 percent of all investment in the city last year.

Pan Jianxin, director of the Shanghai Statistics Bureau, said earlier that investment, from both the public and private sectors, will be the driving force behind the city's growth. He noted investment should peak in 2005.

Continuous robust economic growth also led to rising foreign investment in Shanghai. Last year, 4,321 overseas investment contracts, worth a combined US$11 billion, were signed.

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