China's economic growth may slow to 7.1% next year from 7.4%: Central Bank report

A worker walks past a propaganda slogan on a wall at a construction site in Beijing on Dec 12, 2014. China's economic growth could slow to 7.1 per cent in 2015 from an expected 7.4 per cent this year, held back by a sagging property sector, the
A worker walks past a propaganda slogan on a wall at a construction site in Beijing on Dec 12, 2014. China's economic growth could slow to 7.1 per cent in 2015 from an expected 7.4 per cent this year, held back by a sagging property sector, the central bank said in research report seen by Reuters on Sunday. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (REUTERS) - China's economic growth could slow to 7.1 per cent in 2015 from an expected 7.4 per cent this year, held back by a sagging property sector, the central bank said in research report seen by Reuters on Sunday.

Stronger global demand could boost exports, but not by enough to counteract the impact from weakening property investment, according to the report published on the central bank's website, www.pbc.gov.cn.

China's exports are likely to grow 6.9 per cent in 2015, quickening from this year's 6.1 per cent rise, while import growth is seen accelerating to 5.1 per cent in 2015 from this year's 1.9 per cent, it said.

The report warned that the Federal Reserve's expected move to raise interest rates sometime next year could hit emerging-market economies.

Fixed-asset investment growth may slow to 12.8 per cent in 2015 from this year's 15.5 per cent, while retail sales growth may quicken to 12.2 per cent from 12 percent, it said.

Consumer inflation may hold largely steady in 2015, at 2.2 per cent, it said.

China's economic growth weakened to 7.3 per cent in the third quarter, and November's soft factory and investment figures suggest full-year growth will miss Beijing's 7.5 per cent target and mark the weakest expansion in 24 years.

Economists who advise the government have recommended that China lower its growth target to around 7 per cent in 2015.

China's employment situation is likely to hold up well next year due to faster expansion of the services sector, despite slower economic growth, said the report.