20051109 chinaflag gettyid55837306
Chinese flag - 


Lisa Napoli: Well these days, whatever we hear out of China shouldn't come as a surprise, but the announcement today that the economy grew 12 percent this quarter over a year ago, that wasn't supposed to happen. China's been trying to temper economic growth. I talked to Muir Dickey of the Financial Times in Beijing this morning about why that hasn't been working.

Muir Dickey: It is true that the government has been trying to cool areas of the economy down, but I think what was interesting is just how relaxed the National Bureau of Statistics seems to be about it. They seemed to be trying to tell us that there're good reasons for this growth, not that it's based in overheating in a number of sectors, which was the concern earlier.

Napoli: Well what's the difference between good growth and overheated growth?

Dickey: Well I think in a word it would be sustainability. There has been a lot of concern in China in recent years that too much money is flowing into a number of sectors, for example steel in recent years, that there was going to be very little potential for it to generate profits in the longer term. The picture we were given today is that this growth was based on a benign international, the fact that lots of policies the government has implemented to reassure consumers have helped to boost domestic consumption.

Napoli: Muir, we hear a lot here about the growing middle class in China, but what about the people who are still living in poverty? Where are they in all of this economic boom?

Dickey: Well I think it's a very complicated picture. Some people in the rural sector will be actually benefiting, particularly at the moment because of the high food prices. Others, especially people on very low and fixed incomes, will be very concerned about those high food prices because they'll have a very direct effect on what they eat.

Napoli: That's Muir Dickey of the Financial Times in Beijing.