A shop keeper, right, counts sale items while a customer, left, chooses clothes at a shopping mall in downtown Beijing, 15 July 2010
Beijing 15 July 2010 - China remains on track to overtake Japan as the world's second largest economy, despite a slight slowing in the country's economic growth in the first half of this year.
China's National Bureau of Statistics says the world's third largest economy grew by 10.3 percent in the second quarter of this year, against the same period a year earlier. This is down from a rapid 11.9 percent growth in the first quarter.
The statistic bureau's Sheng Laiyun indicated to reporters in Beijing Thursday that the government has engineered the slowdown.
Sheng says the government considers China's economy to be "running well," and moving in the anticipated direction.
China rebounded quickly from the global financial crisis because of a massive stimulus program and bank lending. In recent months, Chinese leaders have been clamping down on credit, as part of what the spokesman says was part of a government strategy to prevent economic overheating.
Sheng says an "appropriate" slowing down of the economic growth rate will prevent the economy from growing too quickly. He says that it also will help with China's efforts at economic restructuring.
Consumer inflation fell to 2.9 percent in June, from 3.1 percent in May. This is slightly below the government's official target for 2010 of 3 percent. Sheng says, although inflation has dropped slightly, the government will remain vigilant about rising prices because of what he describes as "uncertainties in economic development" for the rest of this year.
The latest report leaves China poised to pass Japan as the world's second-largest economy, behind the United States. China's overall output last year was just slightly behind Japan's, and its economy is growing at a faster pace than its Asian neighbor.
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