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ADB: Chinas economy to grow 9.6%

Date of Issue 2010-04-14

The Asian Development Bank has forecasted China's economy will grow 9.6 percent in 2010, while predicting a moderate lift in the value of the currency, the yuan.

The Manila-based ADB raised China's growth rate from its previous estimate of 8.9 percent growth for 2010, done in September. However, the bank said China's economy is likely to rise at 9.1 percent in 2011 as Beijing is prepared to phase out its huge stimulus measures introduced in late 2008 to stark off the global financial crisis.

China has powered out of the downturn -- it grew 10.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009 -- on the back of US5 billion dollars in stimulus spending and massive bank lending.

China's next five-year plan, an economic blueprint set to be unveiled in 2011, was an opportunity for Beijing to "add momentum to restructuring efforts" necessary to ensure sustained growth in the years ahead, the ADB said.

Expanding the services sector -- such as banking and insurance -- would "strengthen the domestic engine of growth, generate new sources of employment and raise living standards", the bank said.

It also said that it is China's own interest to let the yuan resume appreciation, a process that was halted by the financial crisis.

"Now as the global economy picks up it would be... in China's interests but also in the interests of the economies in the region to gradually shift towards greater exchange rate flexibility," ADB country director Robert Wihtol told reporters.
The bank said in its outlook report that China may "tolerate" a slight increase in the yuan in 2010 and 2011 amid sustained economic growth, revived inflation and a trade surplus.

Speculation is growing that Beijing may soon alter its exchange rate policy as international moves intensified for a stronger yuan -- effectively pegged at around 6.82 to the dollar since mid-2008.

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