Industrial growth to slow again

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 October, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 October, 2011, 12:00am


Growth in industrial output is likely to slow further this quarter as firms cope with rising costs fuelled by a stronger yuan and weakening global demand caused by the euro zone debt crisis, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology says.

But this year's industrial growth will still meet the government's target of 11 per cent, Xiao Chunquan, director of the ministry's Bureau of Operation Monitoring and Co-ordination, said in Beijing yesterday.

Industrial output rose 13.8 per cent last month from a year earlier, up from 13.5 per cent in August. However, the figures were lower than the 14 per cent rise posted in July and 15.1 per cent in June.

In the first three quarters of this year, output increased 14.2 per cent year on year. The pace of industrial production growth will probably slow to 11 per cent next year, according to Xiao. An intensifying economic restructuring as well as efforts to cut emissions and save energy would also contribute to the slowing growth in industrial output in the world's key manufacturing economy, Xiao said.

Zheng Xin, director of the ministry's small and medium-sized enterprises bureau, told the same news conference that Xiao was briefing that some small and medium enterprises, especially micro-sized companies, faced greater difficulties such as limited access to bank loans, expensive raw materials, higher labour costs and heavy tax burdens.

This was despite a string of government measures to help small and medium enterprises, including tax breaks and financial support.

On Tuesday, the banking regulator said it would encourage lenders to boost lending to cash-strapped small businesses.

Commercial banks must ensure that loan growth to small firms is not slower than growth for other lending. They should also support borrowers with loans of less than five million yuan (HK$6.1 million), the China Banking Regulatory Commission said in a statement on its website.

The State Council approved an extension of tax deductions to financial companies for bad provisions on lending to agricultural entities and small and medium enterprises, the Ministry of Finance said.

Annual inflation dipped to 6.1 per cent last month, retreating from a three-year high of 6.5 per cent in July, but food prices continued to climb.

Meanwhile, users of speedy third-generation mobile data services on the mainland reached 102 million at the end of last month, Xiao said, a bright spot for the telecommunications industry. There were a record 1.24 billion total telephone users in the same period, the director said.