Asian markets round up: China’s 8% target
A GDP growth rate of 8% has long been touted by Chinese authorities as well as commentators as an important threshold; should the rate slip lower, the argument runs, the slowdown might trigger dangerous social problems. Analysts at foreign banks have universally tended to avoid predicting that this might happen but an interesting trend to watch for in 2009 will be the emergence of the ‘below-eight-percenters’ if conditions in China do not improve. Early out of the gates was Qu Hongbin, analyst at HSBC, who wrote in December that while China’s Rmb4 trillion ($2.16 billion) stimulus could lift growth above 8% in the second half of the year, "weaker growth in H1 ‘09 will drag the whole year average to 7.8%". Watch this space.