UPDATE 2-China certain to hit 7.5 pct 2012 GDP growth target-Commerce Min

Wed Nov 28, 2012 6:13am EST
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By Aileen Wang and Nick Edwards

BEIJING Nov 28 (Reuters) - China is certain to hit the government's economic growth target of 7.5 percent for 2012 and could even exceed it, Commerce Minister Chen Deming said on Wednesday.

Chen made the comment at a conference, adding that China would likely spend more than $70 billion this year on non-financial outbound direct investment.

"In the first three quarters, China's economy has grown 7.7 percent from a year ago, therefore, it is for certain that we can achieve the annual GDP target of 7.5 percent or above, " Chen said in a speech.

His forecast was seconded by Chen Dongqi, deputy chief at the Academy of Macroeconomics Research, a think-tank under the powerful National Development and Reform Commission. He told the conference, in comments carried by state radio, that growth would reach between 7.6 and 7.7 percent this year.

China's growth rate has slowed for seven successive quarters and is on course for its weakest full year of expansion since 1999, albeit at a pace that far outstrips the rest of the world's major economies.

The minister's remarks on growth echo those made by an official from the National Bureau of Statistics in October when economic data for the third quarter revealed annual growth had dipped to 7.4 percent.

Analysts polled by Reuters expect China, the world's second biggest economy, to grow by 7.7 percent in 2012.   Continued...