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Chinese Economy Surges in Last Months of 2009


China reported blistering growth for the last three months of 2009, raising expectations of interest rate increases and other measures to head off inflation.

China has declared that it is recovering from the global economic crisis.

Ma Jiantang, of the National Bureau of Statistics, said Thursday the country's economy grew by 10.7 percent in the last three months of 2009.

Ma says China has managed to quickly hold back what he described as "the sliding of the national economy." He says China has become the first country, on the whole, to achieve economic recovery and stabilization.

According to preliminary estimates, Ma says China's gross domestic product for 2009 rose 8.7 percent to nearly five trillion dollars.

This goes beyond the official growth rate target of eight percent. The government has long deemed eight percent growth essential to creating enough jobs for the country's more than one billion people.

At the same time, Ma says some problems and contradictions are natural.

Ma says the Chinese government will give more priority to economic restructuring and improving peoples' livelihoods.

To reduce the effects of the global economic crisis that began in 2008, China loosened lending practices, cut interest rates and began massive spending programs. But the government wants to make sure those measures do not contribute to inflation, which can be politically sensitive in a country where hundreds of millions of people remain impoverished.

Beijing resident Ms. Wang says she is worried. She says she thinks prices are rising really fast. She points to the price of cabbage, which has increased more 10 times in the past year.

The head of the Chinese Banking Regulatory Commission, this week said the government will step up monitoring of banks and rein in lending to prevent speculative bubbles in real estate and other assets.

The World Bank on Thursday released a report that predicts China's economy will grow by nine percent this year. This contrasts with forecasts of 2.5 percent growth rate for the United States and one percent growth for European economies in 2010, because of weaknesses remaining from the global financial crisis.

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