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Industrial output set to fall


A Weichai Power production line in Shandong province. Xinhua

Analysts expect China`s annual industrial output to continue to fall in September, which may be an indication of a weakening economy.

Industrial output slowed to 15.2 percent year-on-year in the first nine months of 2008 and experts predict that September`s figures could be as low as 11 percent.

The figure was released on China Electricity Council website on Friday, but it did not reveal a growth figure for September alone.

The country`s industrial output growth was 15.7 percent for the first eight months of the year. Based on these figures, the growth for September could be between 11.2-11.4 percent, according to calculations by Dong Xian`an, a macroeconomic analyst at China Southwest Securities.

In August, China reported a growth rate of 12.8 percent, making it the lowest figure since August 2002. "Given the estimated lower rate in September, the economic situation could be very harsh," Dong added.

Battered by the slowdown of the world economy amid the global financial turmoil and its own tightening policies since last year, China`s economic growth has eased to 10.4 percent in the first half of this year, down from 11.9 percent for the whole of last year.

The National Bureau of Statistics will release its GDP, inflation and other major indicators for the third quarter on Monday. Surveys by Reuters and Bloomberg both pointed to a GDP growth rate of below 10 percent. Estimates by other institutions fall between 9.1 and 9.7 percent.

"Once an expectation for a continually slowing economy forms, many investors would opt not to invest, which may lead to economic weakening," Dong said.

Given the weakening economy, he said the authorities may continue to cut the interest rate within this month or issue proactive fiscal policies to prevent the economy from a hard landing.

China cut its interest rates and the proportion of money banks must keep in reserves twice within a month since mid-September.

The National Bureau of Statistics initially decided to release the third-quarter figures on Tuesday. The latest decision to release them on Monday aroused market rumors that the authorities may soon act to further relax monetary policies.

Date:2008-10-18 8:36:00     
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