China's annual economic growth will reach 12 percent this quarter, a government researcher said in remarks published on Monday, as economists ratchet up growth forecasts following strong industrial output growth last month.
Yu Bin, head of macroeconomic research at the State Council Development Research Center, said the Chinese economy would face relatively heavy downward pressure on the pace of growth in the second quarter and thereafter, the official Shanghai Securities News said.
It also quoted Fan Jianping, a senior economist with the State Information Center, a think-tank under China's economic planning agency, as forecasting the same rate of growth in the first quarter followed by a possible drop to 10.8 percent in the second quarter and 9 percent or less in the third and fourth quarters.
China's GDP growth picked up steadily last year to 10.7 percent in the fourth quarter from 6.2 percent in the first, as aggressive government stimulus bolstered economic growth after a heavy blow from the global financial crisis.
The latest industrial output data showed robust 20.7 percent year-on-year growth for January and February, although China's industry minister Li Yizhong said that the pace of growth, fed by a stimulus package in late 2008 that had nearly run its course, could not be maintained.
(Reporting by Edmund Klamann; Editing by Jonathan Hopfner)