|China eyes stable growth in 2012 amid "extremely grim" outlook|
BEIJING, Dec. 14 (Xinhua) -- China will seek stable and relatively fast economic growth next year amid the "extremely grim and complicated" global outlook, according to a statement issued after the closure of a three-day central economic work conference on Wednesday.
The conference agreed to set the main theme of next year's economic and social development as "making progress while maintaining stability," the statement said. The plans mapped out at the conference will chart the course of next year's economic work.
"Stability means to maintain basically steady macro-economic policy, relatively fast economic growth, stable consumer prices and social stability," the statement said.
"To make progress, we must seize this strategically important development period to make new advances and breakthroughs in transforming China's economic development model, deepen reform and improve people's lives," it said.
The statement indicated Chinese policy makers' intention to shore up growth while avoiding reawakening the inflation dragon, analysts said.
"China must stabilize economic growth to prevent a sharp plunge, which might dampen employment and cause social problems," said Zhu Baoliang, deputy director of the Economic Forecast Department of the State Information Center, a government think tank.
China's economic growth has been slowing all year. Its GDP growth slowed to 9.1 percent in the third quarter from 9.5 percent in the second quarter and 9.7 percent in the first quarter.
Growth of the consumer price index (CPI), a main gauge of inflation, eased to 4.2 percent in November from this year's peak of 6.5 percent in July. It was the slowest pace seen since last September, when it rose 3.6 percent.
However, even with the sharp fall in November, the country's CPI rose 5.5 percent year-on-year during the January-November period, well above the government's full-year inflation control target of 4 percent.
Although the CPI rise has slowed, there are still factors that may push up prices, including price increases triggered by higher costs and uncertainties of imported inflation, said Wang Yiming, deputy head of the Academy of Macroeconomic Research under the country's top economic planner, the National Development and Reform Commission.
The country will maintain its stance of prudent monetary policy and proactive fiscal policy in 2012, said the statement. At the same time, the country will keep the yuan's exchange rate "basically stable" while deepening interest rate and exchange rate formation mechanism reforms.
It will preset or fine-tune monetary policy according to changes in economic development, employ multiple monetary policy tools and maintain a "reasonable increase" in money and credit supply. Meanwhile, the country will implement fiscal policy, such as further improving tax cut policies on selective sectors and enhancing input on sectors involving improving people's welfare.
Measures aimed to regulate the property market will also be maintained next year to ensure housing prices return to a "reasonable level," said the statement, adding that more ordinary commercial residential housing will be built to increase effective supply.
With the world economy slowing and international financial markets in chaos, several prominent risks have arisen. The world's economic recovery is expected to remain unstable and uncertain, the statement said.
It noted the country's economic development still contains "unbalanced, uncoordinated and unsustainable" strains, and faces pressure from both slowing economic growth and inflation.
"We should strengthen our awareness of risks and develop a full understanding of the challenges and opportunities brought by the global financial crisis to enhance our comprehensive strength and global competence through more strategic planning," it said.
Concern about a slowdown in the world's second-largest economy and the eurozone debt morass have dragged China's key Shanghai stock index down by more than 27 percent from this year's peak on April 18.
Growth of exports, one of the major engines used to power China's expansion, also slowed, to 13.8 percent in November from 37.7 percent in January.
With the external demand waned, the government attempted to turn to domestic consumers to take up the slack. The country vows to expand domestic demand next year and increase residents' income, especially for disadvantaged groups.
With the size of its economy, China cannot base its long-term economic development on external demand. "If the country can spur domestic demand, especially domestic consumption, it will get inexhaustible growth momentum," said Yao Jingyuan, a special researcher with the Councillor's Office of the State Council, or China's Cabinet.
The statement said the country will keep moderate growth of fixed asset investment, optimize investment structure and ensure capital supply for major water conservancies, railways and equipment manufacturing projects.
The country also vows to foster the development of emerging industries with strategically importance, make breakthroughs in key technology to enhance core competence, and speed up the construction of key energy bases and transportation channels.EndFragment