BEIJING, Feb. 23 -- Lian Ping, chief economist of Bank of Communications, China's fifth largest commercial lender, said Sunday that the Chinese economy is expected to pick up speed starting from the second quarter this year.
The Shanghai-based bank predicted China could register a gross domestic product (GDP) growth of about 8 percent this year.
"Judging by some economic indicators, the Chinese economy is getting out of the toughest period," Lian told reporters at a press conference.
The bank issued its forecast of China's macro-economic and financial situation in 2009 at the press conference.
The country's Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) of the manufacturing sector rose to 45.3 in January from 41.2 in December.
The PMI includes a package of indices that measure economic performance. China's PMI is conducted on the basis of surveys directed at purchasing and supply managers of more than 700 local manufacturers.
Industrial production growth for December rebounded to 5.7 percent year on year from 5.4 percent in November. In addition, electricity production was down 7.9 percent year on year in December, an improvement from the 9.6 percent slump in November.
However, Lian pointed out the Chinese economy is also influenced by other factors, including the global economy.
The Chinese government has unveiled a range of stimulus plans this year for light industry, petrochemical, textile and other sectors, after presenting a four trillion yuan (about 585 billion U.S. dollars) stimulus package in September to cope with the global financial crisis.