China's economy surges 10.3pc
China's economy accelerated in the last quarter of 2010 to expand a blockbuster 10.3 percent for the year as its communist leaders struggle to keep growth on an even keel while cooling surging prices.
Figures released Thursday showed growth picking up in the fourth quarter, to 9.8 percent from 9.6 percent in July-September, as the world's second-largest economy gained momentum despite moves to curb a torrent of investment that is fanning politically risky inflation.
The inflation rate was 4.6 percent in December compared with a 28-month high of 5.1 percent the month before. That put inflation for the full year at 3.3 percent.
The news rattled investors who fear further moves to dampen credit. Markets across Asia fell, with Shanghai's benchmark Composite Index sliding 2.9 percent to 2,677.65.
"The only slight decline in inflation in December shows just how grim the situation is for cooling inflation," said Peng Yunliang, an analyst at Shanghai Securities. "In my view, inflation will remain a headache for the government in 2011."
Those pressures may force Beijing to slow the economy more aggressively, potentially crimping growth in a world increasingly dependent on Chinese demand.
The news, coming as Chinese President Hu Jintao celebrated what was viewed back home as a triumphant state visit to the United States, accentuated the wide divide between China, which has vigorously rebounded from the global crisis, and the still fragile U.S. and European economies.
Echoing earlier complaints by Beijing, the National Statistics Bureau commissioner, Ma Jiantang, blamed rising prices on lax monetary policies among "developed economies," which have fanned speculative demand and driven commodity prices higher.
But he acknowledged that increased costs for wages, land and other factors in China were also pushing prices higher.