China vows to ensure stable, healthy economic development next year (12/13/2010)

Updated: 2010/12/13 14:41:00

China will enhance and improve macro-economic regulation to ensure stable and healthy economic development next year, said a statement released Sunday after the annual Central Economic Work Conference.

Next year´s macro-regulation should basically be proactive, stable, prudent and flexible, the statement said.

The focus will be better handling the relationship between stable and relatively fast economic development, economic restructuring and inflation expectations in an active and stable way, it said.

Participants at the three-day conference, one of China´s most important economic-policy-making events, agreed to exert more efforts to keep prices stable next year.

They also agreed to accelerate the strategic transformation of the economic development pattern in order to make economic development more coordinated, sustainable and reliant on the domestic economy.

China´s economy grew 9.6 percent year on year in the third quarter this year, slowing from the 10.3-percent increase in the second quarter and 11.9-percent surge in the first quarter.

Inflation picked up to a 28-month high of 5.1 percent in November, as bank lending looked certain to exceed the 7.5-trillion-yuan full-year target the government set at the start of the year.

Similarly, growth in the broad money supply (M2) - cash in circulation and all deposits - will surpass the government´s full-year target of 17 percent.

Moreover, the U.S. Federal Reserve´s second round of quantitative easing has increased the risk of imported inflation.

To curb inflation and soak up excessive liquidity, the country´s central bank has raised banks´ reserve requirement ratio six times this year. It also lifted the benchmark lending and deposit rates on Oct. 20, the first such move in nearly three years.

The meeting reaffirmed to boost farm produce supply through the development of modern agriculture in 2011, and clamp down on price speculation which is largely blamed for hiking prices.

The statement said the country will mainly employ economic and legal means, with administrative measures used when necessary, to keep the overall prices "basically stable".

On Dec. 3, China said it will shift its monetary policy stance in 2011 to "prudent" from "relatively loose."

"Credit should go to the real economy, especially the agricultural sector and small business," the statement said.

The meeting reaffirmed the continuation of the government´s proactive fiscal policy.

Gao Peiyong, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said a combination of proactive fiscal policy and a prudent monetary policy underscore the complications of the current economic situation.

"Macro-regulation has various goals. One is preventing the economy being affected by the global financial crisis. Another is curbing inflation. The situation is more complicated than before," he said.

The meeting also stressed steady growth in fiscal revenue, and austerity in government administrative expenditure, adding that local governments should strengthen debt management efforts.

China´s fiscal revenue growth slowed to 12.2 percent in the third quarter this year from an increase of 22.7 percent in the second quarter and 34 percent in the first quarter.

Ma Haitao, a professor with the Central University of Finance and Economics, said the government is expected to face tight fiscal conditions next year, and local governments´ debt deserves more attention to prevent it from spreading.

The statement also said the world´s economy is likely to resume growing next year, though many uncertainties will remain.

"The global financial crisis had a significant impact on the global economy and the world economic order is undergoing profound and complicated change," it said.

Participants at the meeting agreed China´s stable economic development would encounter a complicated situation next year, with many challenges and difficulties.

The uncertainties for Chinese economy include: the grain harvest and farmers´ income; increased pressure to adjust the economic structure; resource and environment bottlenecks; the challenging task of improving people´s livelihood and guaranteeing social stability.

The statement urged local authorities to be rational when making development targets, avoid blind pursuit of high growth rates and focus more on improving the quality and efficiency of growth as well as boosting employment and improving the public´s standards of living.

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ISSN 1003-3025 CN11-1714/TS