China's Economy Grew 10.7% In 2006

Fastest since mid-1990s.

Reaching an 11-year high that put the Asian giant well on track to surpass Germany as the world's third biggest next year, China's economy rose 10.7% in 2006, data showed Jan. 25.

Growth last year topped 2005's 10.4% and marked the highest level since 1995, according to figures published by the National Bureau of Statistics. The growth, fueled by investment and exports, was slightly higher than the 10.5% that officials had indicated in recent weeks.

China's total economic output came to 20.9 trillion yuan in 2006, or about $2.6 trillion if mid-year exchange rates are used. This makes it possible that the economic world rankings will soon have to be changed and that China could overtake Germany for the number three spot some time in 2008.

Industrial output expanded 12.5% in 2006, boosted by massive investment in new plant and equipment in recent years and booming exports, outstripping output in 2005 which climbed by 11.4%.

Fixed asset investment, the main indicator of state-funded spending on new productive capacity, rose 24% last year, fueled by the ample liquidity available in the Chinese economy. The figure was lower than the 25.7% growth registered in 2005, but still well above an 18% growth target for fixed assets investment set for last year.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007

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