China's economy expanded by 10.7% in 2006, marking the fastest growth since 1995, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has said.
It said the rise of the world's fourth-largest economy was mainly fuelled by investments and exports. The figure was above the 10.5% that officials had predicted. The government is worried that such high levels of growth may be unsustainable, and has taken a series of measures to try to slow it down. The Chinese economy has now enjoyed four consecutive years of at least 10% growth, the NBS said. The expansion in 2006 topped the 10.4% rate a year earlier, and is the highest since 1995, when the economy grew by 10.9%. „In 2006, the national economy maintained steady and fast growth,” NBS commissioner Xie Fuzhan told reporters in Beijing. China's economy continues to be powered by a huge appetite for investment, and a boom in exports that generated a trade surplus of $177.47 billion last year. But the government is concerned that some parts of the economy are becoming overheated. Beijing has taken a number of steps in order to cool things down. „These policies and measures proved to be effective and helped economic development avoid moving from speedy growth to overheating,” Xie said.
A lot of the money that China is making from exports has ended up in Shanghai's stock exchange. It has turned from being one of the world's worst performers to one of the best, says the BBC's Quentin Somerville in Shanghai. But some experts are worried that the government has swapped a property bubble for a stock market bubble, our correspondent says. He adds that China's success is thanks to low wages, good infrastructure and enormous amounts of pollution. Factories can almost pollute at will, and the economic cost to the environment and to the health of the Chinese people has not been properly recorded, our correspondent says. China's growth figures themselves come with a health warning, he adds. Halfway through last year the government discovered that the economy was $100 billion bigger than previous estimates. (BBC NEWS)