China’s finance minister has hinted that economic growth may fall far below 7% in the second half of the year.
Speaking in Washington, Lou Jiwei thought growth for 2013 as a whole would be 7%, but said that even this may not be the “bottom line”.
That figure is below Beijing’s official 7.5% target, and below most economists’ forecasts for the country.
Mr Lou’s comments highlight how rapidly the country is slowing down, as Beijing seeks to rein in a construction boom.
He also caused some confusion by implying that 7% was now the government’s target, even though the target was set at 7.5% in March.
Mr Lou said he expected growth for the first half of this year to come in at just under 7.7%, implying that he believes growth will slow to just above 6% in the second half.