China 2009 GDP growth seen at 6.8 pct

BEIJING- Standard Chartered expects China to achieve real GDP growth of only 6.8 pct in 2009, down from a forecast of 9.0 pct for this year and 2007's growth of 11.9 pct.

In a note, Standard Chartered economist Stephen Green said a painful first half next year should be followed by a mild recovery in sentiment in the second half.

There is likely to be a sharp slowdown in private investment in the first half, as well as continued weakening of consumer sentiment, Green said.

Real estate prices probably have further to fall, but there is strong fundamental demand at cheaper levels, he said.

Green added that the yuan could weaken mildly against the US dollar due to concerns about exports.

He expects the yuan to trade at 6.82 to the dollar by the end of this year, and at 6.95 and 6.10 by the end of 2009 and 2010, respectively.

Green added that the central bank could cut one-year deposit rates by 1.0 pct and one-year lending rates by 4.0 pct next year, while the reserve requirement could be lowered to 13 pct.


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