Despite Efforts To Cool Off Chinese Economy, Growth Seen At More Than 10% In 2006

BEIJING (AP) - China's central bank says booming exports should push economic growth to 10 percent this year, surpassing the 2005 rate despite efforts to cool off a roaring expansion, state media reported Monday.

The economy should grow by 10.3 percent in the first six months of the year before easing off in the second half, the bank said in a report released over the weekend, according to news reports.

China's economy has repeatedly overshot official targets, growing by 9.9 percent in 2005 and by 10.3 percent in the first quarter of this year.

The official Xinhua News Agency reported this weekend that China's trade is expected to rise by 20 percent this year. The report didn't cite any sources.

China's trade surplus is likely to rise to between $120 billion and $130 billion this year, up from $102 billion in 2005, the newspaper China Securities Journal reported, citing Bi Jingquan, deputy director of the National Reform and Development Commission.

The government has tried to rein in what it considers excessive investment in real estate, factories and other assets by tightening bank lending rules and raising interest rates.

But Chinese leaders still want strong growth to reduce poverty.

''China is still a developing country,'' the Shanghai Daily newspaper quoted central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan as saying. ''We need growth. We need it to solve a lot of economic problems. We need it to have a poverty reduction.''

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