BEIJING, Mar. 22 -- China's economic growth will slow this year but the growth momentum will remain strong, a government official said in Beijing on Monday.
"Growth will steadily pick up starting in the second quarter of 2011," Zhang Yutai, head of the Development Research Center of the State Council, said at the China Development Forum 2011.
China targeted its annual economic growth at 8 percent this year, lower than the actual rate of 10.3 percent last year. Zhang said the target has left "wiggle room" for China to revamp its growth model while keeping the economy growing at a relatively fast and steady pace.
"China's growth momentum this year will stay strong. China's investment in affordable housing, water conservancy and high railway projects will fuel high-speed growth. In the context of wage hikes and income tax reforms, consumption in urban and rural areas will rise," he said, adding that the recovery in developed countries will boost export demand in China.
Though China is currently experiencing relatively high inflation, Zhang was confident the government would keep it around the 4-percent target for the year.
"Ample food reserves and expanding distribution networks would ease price pressure. Moreover, China's tightening policies to check liquidity in the market had begun to take hold," he said.
Zhang expects inflationary pressure to gradually ease in 2011.
China has adopted a range of measures to put a brake on inflation, including interest rate and reserve ratio hikes. But inflation remained stubbornly high at 4.9 percent in February.
The China Development Forum 2011 runs from Saturday to Monday, with a theme of "The Ongoing Transformation of China's Growth Pattern."