World Bank bullish on China’s long-term growth prospects

CHINA’S economic growth will slow to a 13-year low in 2012 according to a World Bank report published yesterday, although it should avoid the “hard landing” feared by its leaders.

The report predicts growth of 8.2 per cent on the previous year, firmly higher than the 22-year low of 7.5 per cent forecast by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao last month.

A slowdown in growth of consumption and investment rates, coupled with weak external demand, are behind the predictions.

The headline figure indicates the economy is expanding below its potential, but this will moderate the risk of overheating and “[increase] the prospects of a soft landing”, said to Ardo Hansson, lead economist for China at the World Bank.

The Bank believes this will create room for policy responses laying foundations for sustainable long-term growth.

Next year will see a fillip as economists predict a boost in growth of 8.6 per cent, a sharper bounce than had been predicted last November.