China economy to rebound in 2013: AFP survey
By Kelly Olsen, AFPBEIJING -- China's economy is poised finally to end a long downward trend in 2013, economists polled by AFP say, as the new communist leadership vows to retool the nation's investment-led development model and promote a “happy life” for all.
January 14, 2013, 12:28 am TWN
The world's second-largest economy is not expected to return to double-digit growth, but the economists' predictions are a welcome spot of good news in a financial world assailed by the eurozone debt crisis and lackluster recovery in the United States.
After seven consecutive quarters of slowing growth, China's gross domestic product (GDP) will rise by 8 percent in 2013, according to the median forecast of 15 economists surveyed by AFP. The poll also projected 7.7-percent growth for 2012.
The figures would outpace the government's 7.5-percent growth target for 2012 — but are well below the 9.3 percent recorded in 2011 and 10.4 percent in 2010.
Maintaining growth is all-important for China's communist leaders, who derive much of their claims to legitimacy from the country's reform-led economic rise, which has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty over the past three decades.
The rebound comes as China formally wraps up a once-in-a-decade leadership change in March when Xi Jinping, who was named Communist Party chief in November, takes over as president and Li Keqiang becomes premier in charge of day-to-day administration.
Xi, in his first public appearance after being chosen to lead the party, said China's citizens “want their children to have sound growth, have good jobs and lead a more enjoyable life. To meet their desire for a happy life is our mission.”
China's stunning economic transformation has long been fuelled by heavy state investment in railways, airports, bridges and buildings, as well as an emphasis on manufacturing and exports.
But it is now trying to promote demand from its own increasingly well-off consumers as the economy's main driver. And the Communist Party says it recognizes the need to encompass the have-nots who have failed to share in the boom as a rich-poor gap opens up.