China’s gross domestic product is likely to grow 7.5 per cent in 2002, said the chairman of the Economic Research Institute under the State Council, up from an estimated 7.3 per cent last year. Chen Donqi said that the economic “interruption” caused by the terrorist attacks on the US on September 11 would not last long. He added that private and foreign investment levels would remain strong and that the government would step in should domestic consumer confidence flag.
Premier Zhu Rongji was rather more pessimistic, predicting a growth rate of 7.3 per cent because of difficult export conditions. Finance minister Xiang Huaicheng later said that Beijing would issue Yn150bn in special bonds in 2002, the same as last year, to stimulate economic growth.
China will be Asia’s fastest growing economy in 2002, predicted the Economist Intelligence Unit, with a growth rate of 7.4 per cent. Bangladesh, in second place, is expected to grow by 6.2 per cent, while Japan will record the worst performance with an economic contraction of 1.1 per cent.