China’s economy to grow by 8 percent in 2006, prime minister says

6 March 2006

Beijing, China, 06 March – China’s prime minister, Wen Jiabao, said Sunday in Beijing that China’s main development goals for 2006 included an 8 percent economic growth rate and reduced energy consumption.

“The main goals for economic and social development this year are GDP (gross domestic product) growth of over 8 percent and a reduction in energy consumption of around 4 percent,” said Wen.

The prime minister made a speech to members of the National Popular Assembly (NPA), the Chinese parliament, whose annual legislative session began Sunday in Beijing.

The NPA plenary is made up of around 3,000 members, chosen by the armed forces and provincial assemblies.

The prime minister’s predictions for economic growth in 2006 are lower than those forecast by the World Bank, which expects the economy to grow by 9 percent.

Wen, in a speech on the “State of the Nation” also said that the Chinese economy would grow at an average annual rate of 7.5 percent between 2006 and 2010.

Between 2001 and 2005, China’s GDP grew by an annual average of 9.5 percent, or 0.9 percentage points above the target defined by the government for that five-year period.

Wen set as a main target for the government a reduction of 20 percent in energy consumption between 2006 and 2010.

According to Chinese government figures, in order to produce US$10,000 in GDP, China consumes 7.1 times more energy than Japan, 5.7 times more than the United States and 2.8 times more than India.

Meanwhile, in London, a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers said that China could be the world’s largest economy in 2050, and Brazil would be the fourth largest, taking into account the aging populations in western countries.

The study, quoted in Friday’s edition of the Times, placed the United States as the second largest world economy, and India as the third.

After Brazil comes Japan, currently the world’s third largest economy, Indonesia and then Mexico.

The report took into account the demographic trends of each of the main world economies, which are significantly higher in Brazil and Turkey than in the United Kingdom and Western Europe, and the impact of long term economic growth rates.

The aggregate value of these seven economies will be 75 percent greater than that of the current seven largest economies (G7). (macauhub)