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Chinese Economic Growth Surpasses 10 Percent for Fifth Straight Year


Chinese authorities say the country's economy grew at 11.4 percent last year, the fifth year in a row growth has surpassed 10 percent despite ever greater efforts to slow it down. And, with inflation at an 11-year high in 2007, the government says controlling price increases will be one of its key priorities this year. VOA's Stephanie Ho reports from Beijing.

The 11.4 percent growth in China's economy last year was the greatest in 13 years.

Xie Fuzhan, the commissioner of the National Bureau of Statistics, announced the annual economic figures in Beijing Thursday.

Xie says the second quarter last year saw the highest growth, of 11.9 percent. That eased to 11.2 percent in the fourth quarter, indicating a modest slowdown.

The government has been trying for the past few years to moderate economic growth. But a number of measures, including several increases in interest rates last year, have failed to make much of an impact on the roaring economy.

Xie says one of the government's core economic goals this year will be to control widespread inflation, which reached 4.8 percent for the year.

He says one cause of rising prices is an "excessive" money supply. China is also influenced, he says, by higher world prices.

Xie points to oil as an example. China is an oil-importing country, so he says there is an inevitable influence from higher prices for oil on the world market.

Total trade volume rose 23.5 percent, and the already huge trade surplus - which has prompted heated disputes with the United States and the European Union - rose by almost 50 percent to $262 billion.

Overall, the economy totaled $3.4 trillion in 2007. Asked whether China has yet surpassed Germany as the world's third largest economy, Xie said the German figures are not out yet, so he cannot compare the two.

He says whether China is the third or fourth largest economy, it is still a developing country. Because it has far and away the largest population, at 1.3 billion people, per capita GDP remains low.

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