China economy to grow 10 percent in 2010: think tank

BEIJING: A top state-run think tank has forecast that China will return to double digital growth this year, with a 10 percent rise in gross domestic product, state media reported Sunday.

The Centre for Forecasting Science at the Chinese Academy of Sciences said GDP could grow by 11 percent in the first quarter of the year, before slightly slowing down for the rest of 2010, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

Investment was expected to increase as a result of the government's economic stimulus package, but overall growth in investment for the year would fall to 25 percent, Xinhua quoted a report by the state-run institution as saying.

China's GDP, which analysts say could overtake that of Japan, expanded by 8.7 percent in 2009. It returned to double-digit growth in the fourth quarter last year, with a 10.7 percent growth -- the fastest in two years.

A government stimulus package worth four trillion yuan (586 billion dollars) has widely been credited with sustaining growth in a year when much of the global economy was in crisis.

But inflation surged towards the end of 2009, sparking concern.

The report estimated that China's consumer price index, the main gauge of inflation, would increase by more than three percent in 2010 as an economic revival and liquidity helped drive up prices.

Exports, meanwhile, were expected to rise by nearly 17 percent and imports by just under 19 percent, it added, as overseas demand picked up amid a global economic recovery.