Xie Fuzhan, commissioner of the NBS speaks at a press conference in Beijing, Jan. 25, 2007. [Xinhua Photo]
China's gross domestic product (GDP) surged by 10.7 percent year-on-year to reach 20.94 trillion yuan (2.7 trillion U.S. dollars) in 2006, said Xie Fuzhan, head of the National Bureau of Statistics in Beijing on Thursday.
It was the fourth straight annual double-digit growth rate for the world's fourth-largest economy, driven by hefty investment and rocketing trade, both of which registered a 24 percent year-on-year growth last year.
But per capita GDP still lagged behind international standards, warned Chinese economists. The fast expansion could not change the fact that per capita GDP was just one fifth of the world average.
The average income of Chinese rural residents stood at 3,587 yuan (460 U.S. dollars) in 2006, indicating 900 million farmers on average live on ten yuan (1.2 dollars) one day. The figure explains the low level of consumption in the economy.
The economy recorded 10 percent year-on-year growth in 2003, 10.1 percent in 2004, 10.4 percent in 2005.
Zhuang Jian, a senior economist with the Asian Development Bank, said China's economic growth was showing signs of slowing and would fall below ten percent in 2007.
China saw an 11.5 percent economic growth in the second quarter of last year over the same period in 2005, the highest in a decade, prompting the government to take rapid measures to curb growth.
The central bank raised the interest rate twice and hiked the reserve ratio requirement for commercial banks three times last year to reduce credit. Stricter policies on land supply were also implemented.
Following the measures, the growth rate dropped to 10.6 percent in the third quarter and 10.4 percent in the fourth quarter.
Song Guoqing, a senior economist with Beijing University, said the economy was on the right track as it has maintained a low inflation rate with high growth.
China's consumer price index (CPI) went up 1.5 percent year-on-year in 2006. The figure was 1.8 percent in 2005.
Wang Xiaoguang, a senior economist with the Macroeconomic Institute of the National Development and Reform Commission, also believed that the growth rate would fall below ten percent in 2007.
"Addressing the excessive liquidity of the banks should be a key task in macro-control measures of this year," said Wang.
Wang said energy saving and pollution reduction should also be high on agenda.
In response to the rocketing trade and growing pressure on the RMB to appreciate, Xie said an appreciating RMB would have little effect on China's foreign trade patterns.
The RMB had appreciated gradually against the U.S. dollar since China launched the foreign exchange rate reform on July 21, 2005, but China's trade surplus with the United States had not decreased, said Xie.
Moreover, China still had trade deficits with neighboring countries, including Japan, the Republic of Korea and the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries, said Xie.
"The exchange rate is a factor that influences international trade, but it is not the only factor," he said.
The value of the RMB yuan hit a new high on Thursday with a central parity rate of 7.7735 yuan to the dollar, according to the Chinese Foreign Exchange Trade System.
It is the eighth record high for the RMB since the beginning of the year. The RMB has risen over four percent since the forex rate reform.
China would continue to uphold the principles of "independent initiative, controllability and gradual process" in pursuing RMB exchange rate reform, said Xie.
The principles, set out at the beginning of the reform, indicated that China would independently determine the content and timing of reforms in line with its needs, take account of possible impact on the country's economy and push forward reform in a gradual manner.
China's fixed asset investment up 24% last year
China's fixed asset investment totaled 10.987 trillion yuan (1.41 trillion U.S. dollars) in 2006, up 24 percent year on year, or two percentage points lower than the same period a year earlier.
China's CPI up 1.5% in 2006
China's consumer price index (CPI) grew by 1.5 percent in 2006 over the previous year, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported on Thursday. The growth rate was 0.3 percentage points lower than the previous year, according to NBS.
Chinese people's income registers double-digit growth in 2006
Chinese urban and rural residents all see their per capita disposable income record a double-digit growth in 2006, faster than the previous year, said the National Bureau of Statistics on Thursday.
China's retail sales of consumer goods up 13.7% in 2006
China's retail sales rose 13.7 percent to 7.641 trillion yuan (979.62 billion U.S. dollars) in 2006, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) told a press conference on Thursday.The growth rate was 0.8 percentage points higher than the previous year.
China's value-added industrial output up 12.5% in 2006
Value-added output of all industrial enterprises in China grew 12.5 percent year-on-year in 2006, according to data released Thursday by the National Bureau of Statistics.
China's 2005 GDP growth revised to 10.4 pct
China's GDP growth in 2005 has been revised to the final figure of 10.4 percent, 0.5 percent higher than the previous calculation, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported on Tuesday.
National economy keeps steady and fast growth in 2006
Commissioner, National Bureau of Statistics of China
In 2006, the national economy maintained steady and fast growth. The Central Party Committee and the State Council adopted a series of macro-economic control policies and measures in a timely manner to target the outstanding problems, which emerged in economic development. These policies and measures proved to be effective and helped the economic development avoid moving from speedy growth to over-heating. The economic and social development made a good start for the implementation of the 11th Five-Year Plan. Full Text>>