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China economic growth to slow down this year

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When a government economist says this, it must be bad because China has often struggled with giving the full details. The reduced growth presents a number of problems for China, including social unrest. The country needs to maintain a very high growth rate to keep up with new workers and this year, the numbers may not add up.

China may set its lowest annual growth target in eight years as authorities place less emphasis on the pace of expansion and the global economy remains weak, Fan Jianping, chief economist at the government-run State Information Center, said. Premier Wen Jiabao may announce a 7 percent or 7.5 percent target for economic growth this year at the annual National People’s Congress meetings that convene in March, Fan said in an interview today. The last time China set a growth target below 8 percent was in 2004, when the goal was 7 percent. “A lower target will act as a guidance for local authorities to not focus on chasing speed,” said Fan, who is head of the Economic Forecasting Department at the center which is controlled by China’s top economic planning agency. “Growth will slow because the world outlook remains weak while a lot of things also need to be done domestically in terms of economic rebalancing,” he said.

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