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China Economy Expected To Grow

November 23, 1998

BEIJING (AP) _ China’s annual economic growth rate is expected to average at least 7.5 percent from 1998 to 2000 and may even accelerate to 9 percent after 2000, an official newspaper reported Monday.

In light of the continuing Asian financial crisis and possible global slowdown, growth of 7.5 percent will be a key ``psychological level″ for China in the next few years, the People’s Daily quoted Wang Jiachun, an official in the Finance Ministry’s general department, as saying.

As long as growth remains at a minimum 7.5 percent and the yuan’s exchange rate is kept stable, China will still be able to attract foreign investment, Wang said.

He added that he expected the slowdown in the global economy to turn around by 2002, which means China’s gross domestic product _ the total value of goods and services produced _ will grow even faster by then.

``There is a possibility that in the next century, the country’s GDP will grow more than 9 percent a year,″ he said.

China’s GDP rose 7.2 percent in the first nine months this year, compared with 8.8 percent growth in 1997.

Economists estimate China needs 8 percent growth to provide jobs for the newly unemployed and maintain social stability.

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