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China's economy grows 9.1 percent in 2003: official
2004-01-20 00:00

China's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2003 grew 9.1 percent over the previous year, reaching 11.6694 trillion yuan (1.4 trillion US dollars).

The growth rate was the highest since 1997, according to Li Deshui, commissioner of the National Bureau of Statistics.

Li made the announcement at a press conference held by the Information Office of the State Council Tuesday.

The per capita GDP reached a record US$1,090, suggesting that China's economic development has entered a new era, Li said.

The achievement was a hard-won successful one after the outbreak of the severe acute respiratory epidemic and frequent natural disasters, he said.

In terms of different industries, the value-added of the primary industry was 1724.7 billion yuan, up 2.5 percent, or 0.4 percentage point lower than the growth of the previous year.

The value-added of the secondary industy was 6177.8 billion yuan, up 12.5 percent, or 2.7 percentage point higher than the year before.

The tertiary industry stood at 3766.9 billion yuan, up 6.7 percent, or 0.8 percentage point lower than the previous year.

In terms of different quarters, GDP in the first quarter was up 9.9 percent, the second 6.7 percent, the third 9.6 percent and the fouth 9.9 percent respectively.

The country's consumer price index (CPI) increased by 1.2 percent in 2003, Li said, adding that: "There was no severe inflation in China."

China's foreign exchange reserve rose sharply to 403.3 billion US dollars by the end of 2003, the Commissioner said.

The figure was 116.8 billion dollars more than a year ago, he told a press conference held by the Information Office of the State Council.

The number of people newly employed in China's urban areas reached 8.5 million in 2003, exceeding the central government's initial expectation of eight million.

In addition, the number of re-employed urban people last year reached 4.4 million, also exceeding the expected number of four million.

Li predicted that China's economy will grow above 7 percent year-on-year in 2004.

The economy is expected to expand fairly fast in the first quarter, backed by continued investment growth, he told a press conference held by the Information Office of the State Council.

Consumer demand will be stronger and export growth is likely toslow down due to the change in the country's tax rebate policy and worldwide trade protectionism, he said.

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