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Eco crisis hinders China’s growth
Beijing, JAN 22 (DPA):
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Published on 22 Jan. 2009 11:43 PM IST
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China's economic growth fell to 6.8 per cent in the final quarter of 2008, its slowest expansion since 2001, as the global economic downturn hit China's exports, the national statistics bureau said Thursday. The year - on - year growth rate compared to 9-per-cent growth in the third quarter, the bureau said. For all of 2008, China's economy expanded at a 9-per-cent pace, reaching 30.07 trillion yuan (4.42 trillion dollars), the first time since 2003 that it had not hit double-digit growth. The figures represented a dramatic turnaround from 2007 when China's gross domestic product grew 13 per cent. "The international financial crisis is deepening and spreading while its negative impact on the domestic economy is continuing," Ma Jiantang, the bureau's director, said at a press conference in Beijing. For 2009, China's experts expected GDP growth of 5 to 7.5 per cent. The sharply reduced growth rates dampened hopes that China, the world's third-largest economy after the United States and Japan, could help kick-start the ailing global economy. Slowing demand for parts and commodities in China are already affecting other Asian export industries like Taiwan, South Korea and Japan. In another sign of the crisis, Chinese imports dropped by 8.8 per cent in the last quarter while exports rose by 4.3 per cent, a significant decline from earlier quarters. Owing to the strong performance in the first quarters of the year, trade volume in 2008 increased by 17.8 per cent to 2.56 trillion dollars. Exports were up 18.5 per cent to 1.42 trillion dollars while imports increased to 1.13 trillion dollars, up 18.5 per cent. China's trade surplus increased by 32.8 billion dollars to 295.5 billion dollars. Industrial production was up 12.9 per cent for the full year, a decline of 5.6 percentage points from 2007. In the last quarter, growth slowed to 6.4 per cent, the lowest rate on record. Millions of workers have been laid off. The statistics bureau estimated that one-fifth of the migrant workers who are set to return to their villages to celebrate the Chinese New Year this weekend have been affected by factory closures or production shortages.

 
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