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Top 10 economic news in China for 2003(12/27/03)

     The fact that the Chinese economy maintained strong momentum despite the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) has placed all eyes on China in 2003.

    Minimized SARS effect on growth was voted as one of the top 10 domestic economic news makers in 2003 by China Daily and 14 other news organizations, as well as some renowned economists and entrepreneurs.

    Sponsored by the Beijing-based Economic Information newspaper and China Mobile Group, the results were released on Thursday in Beijing. The events are ranked by chronological order as follows:

    1. The outbreak of SARS in April did not affect the general trend of China's economic growth, which is expected to reach 8.5 per cent in 2003.

    2. UBS and Nomura Securities won the first two licences from qualified foreign institutional investors (QFII) in May, a symbol for China's opening of the A share market.

    3. The Three Gorges Project began water storage, shipping and power generating on June 1. The project has infused fresh energy into the Chinese economy.

    4. The central government of China signed the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) with the governments of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) and Macao SAR on June 29 and October 17 respectively.

    5. Many regions in China encountered shortages in the supply of power, coal and petrol products in the second half of 2003. The energy shortage has created a bottleneck for the Chinese economy.

    6. When meeting with Citigroup Chairman Robert Rubin in Beijing on August 5, Premier Wen Jiabao underlined China's stance on the foreign exchange rate of renminbi. He said maintaining the fundamental stability of renminbi benefits both China and the stable development of the global economy.

    7. The State Council came up with a strategy and measures to revive the traditional industrial base in Northeast China in a general meeting on September 10.

    8. A communique passed at the Third Plenum of the 16th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China from October 11 to 14 which set the main tasks for improving China's socialist market economy.

    9. The State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission released a circular to standardize restructuring of State-owned enterprises (SOEs) on December 15. The 189 larger SOEs will increase the pace on the shareholding system reform.

    10. The Ministry of Labour and Social Security announced on December 21 that China would keep the registered unemployment rate in cities below 4.5 per cent this year. China has created more than 8 million new jobs this year.


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