China eyes 10.5 pct growth in 2008 -govt researcher

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GUANGZHOU, China, Nov 20 (Reuters) China is aiming for 10.5 percent growth in 2008 as the government taps the brakes on the roaring economy to rein in investment and price pressures, an official at a cabinet think-tank said on Tuesday.

That would represent a slight dip from this year's growth, which the central bank expects to top 11 percent, but it would still be ahead of the International Monetary Fund's forecast of 10 percent expansion in China in 2008.

''With the strengthening of macroeconomic controls, we aim to maintain GDP growth at 10.5 percent,'' said Cheng Guoqiang, a deputy director at the Development Research Centre under the State Council, or cabinet.

He said that inflation in China, which rebounded to a decade-high 6.5 percent last month, was partly the result of surging prices on global markets, where commodities from soy to oil are near record highs.

''The world is experiencing inflationary pressure, and China is also under pressure,'' he told a conference on vegetable oils in the booming southern city of Guangzhou.

Cheng said consumption would play a bigger part in the country's growth thanks to government efforts to tilt the economy away from exports and towards household spending.

He also said China was on track to overtake Germany next year as the world's third-largest economy, after the United States and Japan.

REUTERS BJR RAI1229

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