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Analyst says 8% growth target achievable

THE economy may be able to reach the central government's 8 percent growth target this year as the majority of its provinces and areas have fulfilled the goal in the first half.

Among the 27 provinces and areas that have unveiled gross domestic product data, 19 reported growth of more than 8 percent. Of those, 13 posted economic expansion of more than 10 percent, according to a report by Xinhua news agency today.

The Chinese mainland is home to 22 provinces, five autonomous regions and four municipalities.

Tianjin and Inner Mongolia took the lead with both registering a year-on-year jump of 16.2 percent in first-half GDP. Shanghai was the slowest with a gain of 5.6 percent in the first six months.

But Shanxi, which has not disclosed the figure, may become the worst performer as its first-quarter GDP fell 8.1 percent due to measures taken to clamp down on its coal industry, which has safety control problems.

"Shanghai's slower growth compared with other areas was mainly due to its high base last year and its high reliance on trade, which was hit hard by the global financial crisis," said Cai Xuchu, chief economist at the Shanghai Statistics Bureau.

Shanghai's exports dropped 22.3 percent from a year earlier in the first half to US$62.5 billion while its imports decreased 24.8 percent to US$57.9 billion.

Growth in other export-oriented areas such as Zhejiang Province and Guangdong Province also slowed, with Zhejiang gaining 6.3 percent and Guangdong advancing 7.1 percent in the first half.

Li Maoyu, an analyst at Changjiang Securities Co, said he was more confident that China could achieve its goal of 8 percent growth this year.

"The provincial data has reinforced the stable growth momentum in the country. As the world economy continues to improve, I believe it will not be so hard to reach the target for the year," Li said.

China's economy expanded 7.1 percent in the first half on an annual basis, the National Bureau of Statistics said last week. The rate was 7.9 percent in the second quarter, accelerating from a 6.1 percent advance in the first quarter.

As authorities repeatedly stressed it would continue its "proactive fiscal policy and moderately easy monetary policy," some economists said the government has room to give the economy another boost.

"China has made it clear that the current policy stance will remain unchanged and it can pacify concerns of less credit and less stimulus," said Wang Qing, an economist at Morgan Stanley.

President Hu Jintao yesterday confirmed that China will stick to its current policy in the second half to sustain stable economic growth.


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