China could be headed for its slowest full-year of growth in the last ten years. The economy ended 2011 with its slackest quarter of growth in 2-1/2-years at 8.9% as it felt the chill of the euro area debt crisis and a sluggish U.S. economy.
The outlook for the real economy remains cloudy, according to the latest surveys of China's vast factory sector and the burgeoning services industries that are key to rebalancing growth and generating more stable domestic-driven demand.
The Premier also pledged to curb speculative demand in the property market. The government will continue to defuse rising local government debt, regarded by many investors as the key risk to fiscal sustainability (and the source of the liquidity for the exploding Chinese real estate market). Government figures show about 10.7 trillion yuan ($1.7 trillion) was owed by local governments at the end of 2010.
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