It's official. Despite persistent official claims the government's efforts to cool the economy were working, China's 2004 GDP growth outpaced 2003's, rising to 9.5%, to RMB 13.65trn (US$1.6trn), compared to 9.3%. But the fourth quarter kicker was growth in agriculture, lifted by a record grain harvest, and services not heavy industry, the target of slow-growth policies. It was the biggest year-on-year GDP increase in eight years. Fourth quarter YOY growth hit the same 9.5%, up from 9.1% in the third quarter, the National Bureau of Statistics said. NBS Commissioner Li Deshui, quoted in China Daily, said the autumn harvest, which accounts for 60% of annual yield, helped push annual output up to 336.35bn kilos, increasing annual output 10.3% over 2003. Service industry growth was buoyed by restaurants, transport and postal services, which reported sharp rises in the last quarter. NBS data also showed FDI for the year totaled US$60.6bn and external trade reached US$1.15trn.
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