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China Says It Will Meet Economic Growth Target for 2009


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China says it is on track to meet its target of eight percent economic growth this year, after reporting that its economy expanded by 8.9 percent in the third quarter.

Li Xiaochao, a spokesman for the National Bureau of Statistics, announced the latest economic news on Thursday.

He says the country's overall gross domestic product for the first three quarters of this year is 7.7 percent. This is after strong 8.9 percent growth in the third quarter of this year.

The figures show that China, the world's third-largest economy, continues to recover more rapidly from the global financial crisis than most developed countries.

Li says the government has no doubt that it will achieve its goal of eight percent growth for this year.

Economists and business analysts say eight percent growth is the minimum needed to foster job creation and ward off social unrest among China's more than one billion people.

Before the global crisis struck, the Chinese economy had growth by more than 10 percent a year from 2003 through the first half of 2008.

The foundation of China's recovery is a nearly $600 billion stimulus package unveiled last November, combined with vigorous bank lending in the first half of this year.

Spokesman Li says there will be no change in what he describes as China's "proactive fiscal policy and appropriately relaxed monetary stance."

He warns of lingering major challenges in ending China's reliance on exports for growth and in creating more domestic demand. Li says the country has entered a crucial stage in its quest to achieve stable growth.

The National Statistics Bureau says fixed asset investment rose by a third in the first nine months of this year.

Retail sales also are up, while inflation is down. Official figures show China's consumer price index fell a little more than one percent from the same period a year earlier.

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