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China's Economy Grows At 9.5% In First Half

China's economy grew faster-than-expected in the first half of the year, expanding 9.5% to reveal a country still in a period of quick but stable growth, the government said July 20. Growth for the second quarter alone came in at 9.5%, compared to 9.4% in the first quarter to March.

The outcome was above analysts' forecasts who had predicted a moderate slowing, confident that macroeconomic controls would put the brakes on the torrid growth of the last three years. However, prominent economic problems were still hampering the world's fastest growing major economy, National Bureau of Statistics spokesman Zheng Jingping said. "The overall situation is good (but) the economic efficiency of some industries is not as good as that in the previous year and the supply of coal, electricity, oil and transportation capacity is tight," he said.

"Inflation remains very modest ... slightly lower than the previous month. However, rather than saying that there is no inflation problem, the high levels of investment are leading to some deflation as you build up overcapacity and prices come down," he said.

China's consumer price index (CPI) rose 2.3% in the six months to June, down from 3.6% in the same period last year. Industrial output rose 16.4% in the first half with output in June alone jumping 16.8%.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2005

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