A report by the International Monetary Fund concluded that China's economic prospects remained favourable but that reforms were still needed to offset potential risks. Although China had emerged almost unscathed from the Asian financial crisis of 1997 and the recent global slowdown, reforms were needed to deal with potential vulnerabilities, such as in the financial sector, the future cost of pensions and other social programmes. The government was praised for sound economic policies and important reforms that had helped the country along the road to a market economy, but it was also encouraged to build on these initiatives.
The IMF forecast that prices in China would drop by 0.4 per cent in 2002. The economy was expected to grow by 7.5 per cent, after the 7.3 per cent of last year. The monetary authorities still had room to lower interest rates but the government was urged to meet this year's budget target.
Party now has 66m members Membership of the Chinese Communist Party has grown by 12m over the past five years to reach 66.36m, Xinhua reported. More than 45 per cent of members are farmers, workers or labourers in township enterprises, while civil servants, cadres, soldiers and employees of state-run administrative enterprises account for 21 per cent. The report did not specify the occupations of the remaining 34 per cent.