Official upbeat over output for manufacturing

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 July, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 22 July, 2011, 12:00am


China's industrial growth should maintain its momentum in the latter part of this year, an official said yesterday, apparently seeking to allay fears that the world's second-biggest economy was heading for a hard landing.

But Industry and Information Technology Ministry spokesman Zhu Hongren also said uncertainties would remain, reflecting a challenging domestic and international environment.

'[We] can say that the growth of China's industrial production will maintain its momentum in the second half of this year,' Zhu told a news conference on the country's first-half industrial performance.

His upbeat report comes just a week after data suggesting that the world's fastest-growing major economy performed better than expected in the second quarter, defying forecasts that Beijing's anti-inflationary policies would cause a hard landing.

Zhu said industrial output this year was likely to grow 13 to 15 per cent if the first-half trend continued. Industrial production grew 14.3 per cent in the first half of the year. Industrial output unexpectedly picked up to rise 15.1 per cent year on year last month, up from 13.3 per cent in May.

Zhu said the economy maintained steady and fast growth, but some industries and enterprises had experienced difficulties. He said small businesses were facing greater difficulties amid a slow global economic recovery, rising commodity prices, surging labour costs and limited access to credit.

Separately, Zhang Feng, director of the ministry's telecommunications development department, said timing for the issuing of 4G telecoms licences would depend on when the technology was mature.

He said the government would support any 4G technology that was 'good', not just networks such as TD-LTE (time division-long term evolution), which China Mobile (CHL) had been promoting. Zhang said he believed that both TD-LTE and FDD-LTE (frequency division duplex-long term evolution) were 'good' technologies.

China Mobile encouraged other carriers abroad to use its favoured 4G technology, and late last year it announced large-scale tests using TD-LTE. Beijing has given few details on its plans for 4G - which offers faster data speeds - although it clearly backs the home-made TD-LTE, which is lagging behind the more popular FDD-LTE.

Meanwhile, Zhu rejected accusations that the government was manipulating the prices of rare earth minerals. It was a 'misunderstanding' that a recent price surge for the minerals in international markets was caused by the government, he said. He said the surge was 'reasonable' and reflected the rising cost of environmental protection.

Rare earth minerals are 17 elements widely used in products from iPads and mobile phones to hybrid cars like the Toyota Prius.