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The report from China’s official Purchasing Managers’ Index registered at 51.9 in January, slightly higher than median estimates by independent sources.
The report signals that China’s economic growth in 2013 will be at least 7.9 per cent.
Last week, an AFP poll of 15 economists forecast 7.7 per cent growth for 2012’s fourth quarter and 8 per cent for the beginning of 2013.
The Purchasing Managers’ Index earlier had posted figures showing that the manufacturing industry grew for a third consecutive month in December 2012.
Realising that double-digit growth for China is unlikely this year, authorities are arguing for a series of reforms to boost consumer strength and improve the quality of life.
The Central Economic Work Conference, China’s most important economic policy meeting, held last December, determined that China would look inward this year and focus on increasing domestic demand, focusing on the capital market and real estate sectors.
“China will put job creation and people’s livelihood on top of the agenda. It will increase input into rural development, education, services, health, social security, job creation, environmental protection and technological innovation,” a China Central Television (CCTV) report said at the time.
China’s industry ministry is expecting this year’s factory output to be 10 per cent, unchanged from 2012.