China's economy, inflation to grow in slower pace in 2008

2007-12-28 00:58:15 Xinhua English

BEIJING, Dec. 28 (Xinhua) -- China's economy is likely to expand at a slower rate in 2008 than it did this year, or by less than 11 percent, as the government tries to avoid overheating, according to Yao Jingyuan, the chief economist of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Gross domestic product (GDP) in the world's fastest-growing major economy is forecast to grow by 11.5 percent this year, Friday's Shanghai Securities News quoted Yao as saying.

GDP rose 11.5 percent year-on-year in the first three quarters of 2007 despite a series of tightening measures, according to the NBS.

The consumer price index, a major gauge of inflation, is likely to climb 4.7 percent in 2007, Yao told a forum in Beijing on Thursday. He added that inflationary pressure is expected to ease next year.

The CPI jumped by an 11-year-high of 6.9 percent in November and 4.6 percent in the first 11 months, primarily driven by surging food prices.

Yao said that the government should utilize more coordinated measures to prevent structural price rises from feeding into the inflation figures, a main goal of the high-profile Central Economic Work Conference concluded on Dec. 5.

China can use faster appreciation of its currency to curb inflation, which is also lifted by the declining U.S. dollar and higher global commodities prices, he said.

The chief economist also forecast that the trade surplus would reach 260 billion U.S. dollars in 2007. The surplus hit 238.1 billion U.S. dollars from January to November, higher than the 177.5 billion U.S. dollars recorded in 2006.