Ren Zeping, the deputy director of the
macroeconomic research department at the Development Research
Centre (DRC), was reported by Shanghai Securities News as saying
the economy was shifting gear from high-speed to medium-speed
As such, he said growth in the world's second-biggest economy
may slow to about 7.2 percent this year and then to around 6
percent in 2015, and eventually to around 5 percent in the next
two to three years.
Reuters was unable to contact Ren at the think tank. A senior
researcher at the DRC said Ren had already left.
"What he says has got nothing to do with us. He is not one of
our people," said the source, who declined to be named as he was
not authorized to speak to the media.
Calls to the macroeconomic policy department at the DRC for an
official comment were not answered.
The government has forecast growth of 7.5 percent this year, but
has said it would be comfortable with a slightly slower rate.
Analysts polled by Reuters expect growth to slow to a 24-year
low of 7.3 percent.
Ren said inadequate domestic demand had led to a steady
deceleration in the economy since 2010, offsetting a recovery in
world demand after the 2008/09 global financial crisis.
The DRC is one of many institutions that makes policy
recommendations to Chinese leaders. Despite its high standing,
its advice is not always taken on board.
Ren's predictions are more dire than other forecasts from the
government. Vice Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao said earlier this
month that he was confident of sustaining economic growth of
between 7-8 percent in the next decade.
Hurt by slowing domestic investment growth and falling exports,
the economy grew an annual 7.4 percent in the first quarter, its
weakest rate in 18 months.
(Reporting by Koh Gui Qing; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)
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