BEIJING, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) -- A group of 14 research institutions jointly
predicted over the weekend that China's economic growth for the first quarter
would be 10.4 percent to 10.5 percent, while the consumer price index (CPI)
would be 6.8 percent to 7.1 percent.
The 14 institutions included the State Information Center, a government
think tank, the research center of Chinese economy under the Beijing University,
and the research center of China and world economy under the Qinghua University.
Economists involved believed that China still faced high inflationary
pressure and that the global slowdown would affect the country insignificantly.
Zhu Baoliang, deputy head of the prediction department of the State
Information Center, said on Monday that China's industrial production,
investment, consumption and import and export, particularly production of farm
produce, such as vegetables and meat, would be affected to different degrees by
the recent severe winter weather. The result would be price rises in the coming
few months, Zhu added.
CPI, the major inflation indicator, will rise more than 5 percent for the
whole of 2008, according to Zhu, who forecast that prices of primary products
would soar conspicuously.
The Chinese economy increasingly relies on international markets and
resources and is responsive to price rises worldwide. There is around the globe
mounting demand for primary products, such as petroleum, farm produce and
minerals. Prices of such products are also shored up by depreciation of the U.S.
currency, speculation and other factors such as geological politics, according
Lin Yifu, head of the research center of Chinese economy under the Beijing
University, said the U.S. economy would likely slide into stagnation upon the
subprime mortgage crisis, which affected China's financial sector
insignificantly as Chinese banks bought less subprime assets.
Though the United States is China's second largest trade partner, recession
there will have a lesser impact on Chinese exporters, who sell mainly lower-end
products, than it would on exporters from developed nations, who sell mainly
high-end and investment products, according to Lin.