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UPDATED: December 19, 2011 NO. 51 DECEMBER 22, 2011
Ensuring Stability

"Stable" will be a key word for China's economy in 2012. That's the beat set at the annual Central Economic Work Conference held in Beijing on December 12-14, which reviewed this year's development and mapped out plans for the next year.

Policymakers at the conference decided to keep macroeconomic policies stable, seek a stable and relatively fast economic growth, stabilize consumer prices and maintain social stability in 2012. On the basis of stability, the government will transform the development model, deepen reform and improve people's livelihood.

This year, the Chinese economy has experienced hard times. As the country enters the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15), economic restructuring becomes the major task, which will inevitably erode economic growth. GDP growth slowed to 9.1 percent in the third quarter from 9.7 percent in the first quarter and 9.5 percent in the second.

Although the deceleration is what the government has anticipated, the weak economic recovery in the United States and the deteriorating debt crisis in the EU, as well as numerous domestic small and medium-sized enterprises on the verge of bankruptcy have worsened the downward spiral. That's why seeking a stable and relatively fast growth rate tops next year's agenda.

Meanwhile, the government has spent the better part of the year fighting inflation. Although the consumer price index, a main gauge of inflation, dropped to 4.2 percent in November from July's peak of 6.5 percent, the 5.5-percent increase during the January-November period is still well above the government's 4-percent control target for the year.

The government has showed its determination to tame rampant inflation next year. Besides stabilizing consumer prices, policymakers at the conference pledged to keep the prudent stance of its monetary policy, defying wide expectations of a loosened one to ease the downward pressure on economic growth.

With the global outlook riddled with uncertainties, the decision made at the conference to maintain stability also becomes a stabilizer to the world economy, alleviating fears for a hard landing of the world's second largest economy and boosting confidence for the global recovery. In addition, specific tasks outlined at the conference such as expanding imports and encouraging foreign investment will continue benefiting the world.

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