Updated: 2012-04-04 (China Daily) - Government sets the tone for stable growth as challenges rise
China's GDP growth may have slowed to about 8.4 percent year-on-year in the first quarter, still boding well for the economy in 2012, said Zhang Xiaoqiang, deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission, on Tuesday.
Citing preliminary data from research agencies, he said the country's consumer price index, a main gauge of inflation, is likely to rise 3.5 percent year-on-year in the first quarter.
The National Bureau of Statistics is due to officially announce the quarter's CPI figure on April 9 and GDP on April 13.
"Stable growth has been set as the tone for 2012 by the government in the context of the uncertainties and challenges of the world economy," Zhang said at a lunch session of the Boao Forum for Asia 2012.
There is no "hard landing" to worry about, unless growth drops to 7 percent for two consecutive quarters, said Zhang Yuyan, director of the Institute of World Economics and Politics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
The nation will cut its 2012 growth target to an eight-year low of 7.5 percent and hold the CPI target at around 4 percent, according to the government work report delivered by Premier Wen Jiabao last month.
Wen said on Tuesday that despite the decline of a few major economic indicators, China's economy as a whole continues to grow as the government anticipated in its exercise of macro controls.
Despite the falls, major economic indicators are still at reasonable levels, and confidence should be maintained in the country's economic work, said Wen during a three-day inspection trip to Fujian province and the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous.
As the deputy director in charge of foreign capital use and the high-tech industry, Zhang also emphasized that China will continue to improve its investment environment and deepen cooperation with other Asian countries.
China has become the largest trading partner of the majority of its neighbors. In 2011, the country's imports from Asia accounted for about 58 percent of its total imports and its investment in Asia comprised about 66 percent of its overall overseas investment, he said.
"The regionalization of Asia is a certainty," said former US commerce secretary Carlos Gutierrez at the forum.
Zeng Peiyan, vice-chairman of the board of directors of the Boao Forum for Asia, and former vice-premier of China, called on Asian countries to "play a positive role in global economic governance" to reflect Asia's common interests.
He suggested designing a mechanism under the G20 framework to supervise the energy and resource-commodities market, because price fluctuations had provoked risks for both producers and consumers in Asia.
Asian countries should work more closely in areas such as the reform of the international monetary system, and anti-trade protectionism, to maintain the region's competitive edge and keep it as an engine for global economic growth.
Montek Singh Ahluwalia, deputy chairman of India's planning commission, said the global economy is facing uncertainties, such as the eurozone debt crisis, currency risks and oil prices.
"The basic certainty is that the emerging countries have an autonomous capacity to grow more quickly, even if the industrialized countries are growing at a slower rate," he said.