China’s economy, the world’s fastest growing one, met domestic targets to grow 8.7 per cent last year, rounding off the year with a 10.7 per cent in the last quarter. It is on course to toppling Japan as the second-biggest economy this year.
The GDP growth was lower than the 9.6 per cent growth in 2008 and a double-digit boom in previous years, but it was still better than Beijing’s own eight per cent target that the communist leadership says is necessary to maintain social stability and create jobs.
In 2009, China’s economy steadily recovered from the financial crisis and kept rising — 6.2 per cent in the first quarter, 7.9 percent in the second, and 9.1 percent in the third. The fourth quarter saw the fastest quarterly growth in two years.
The recovery is largely attributed to Beijing’s quick and massive injection of an economic stimulus of $585 billion, about 20 times the size of India’s stimulus, in November 2008.
“Confidence is the spark setting fire to the plain,” said Ma Jiantang, director of the National Bureau of Statistics, announcing the figures on Thursday.
“China continues to be the single-largest contributor to world growth,’’ Vivek Arora, chief representative of the International Monetary Fund in China told HT.
India, the No. 2 in growth rates, expanded by 7.9 per cent year-on-year in the July-September quarter. That was the strongest in six quarters.
India slowed to a 6.7 per cent growth rate in 2008-09 after growing at close to 9 per cent for four straight years before the global financial crisis set in.
In China, economists began revising forecasts for 2010 from 9.5 to 10 per cent. Officials said controlling inflation, surging home prices and bank loans while creating domestic demand were necessary to prevent the economy overheating.
Chinese exports, the main engine of growth, have not fully recovered though the country recently surpassed Germany as the world’s top exporter.
“This year should feature improving labour markets and hence household income, and a decent recovery in corporate profit,’’ J P Morgan said.