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China economic growth may slow to 7.1 percent in 2015: central bank report

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China’s economic growth could slow to 7.1 percent in 2015 from an expected 7.4 percent this year, held back by a sagging property sector, the central bank said in research report seen by Reuters on Sunday.

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Stronger global demand could boost exports, but not by enough to counteract the impact from weakening property investment, according to the report published on the central bank’s website, www.pbc.gov.cn.

China’s exports are likely to grow 6.9 percent in 2015, quickening from this year’s 6.1 percent rise, while import growth is seen accelerating to 5.1 percent in 2015 from this year’s 1.9 percent, it said.

The report warned that the Federal Reserve’s expected move to raise interest rates sometime next year could hit emerging-market economies.

Fixed-asset investment growth may slow to 12.8 percent in 2015 from this year’s 15.5 percent, while retail sales growth may quicken to 12.2 percent from 12 percent, it said.

Consumer inflation may hold largely steady in 2015, at 2.2 percent, it said.

China’s economic growth weakened to 7.3 percent in the third quarter, and November’s soft factory and investment figures suggest full-year growth will miss Beijing’s 7.5 percent target and mark the weakest expansion in 24 years.

Economists who advise the government have recommended that China lower its growth target to around 7 percent in 2015.

China’s employment situation is likely to hold up well next year due to faster expansion of the services sector, despite slower economic growth, said the report.

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