ADB says China's economy will grow 7.2% in 2015

Shanghai Image copyright AFP
Image caption The ADB expects China to grow faster this year than the target set by the country's officials

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) says it expects China's economy to grow 7.2% this year, which is faster than the target set by the country's officials.

The forecast for the world's second-largest economy from the ADB compares with the 7% target set by Beijing.

China's economy expanded 7.4% last year, which marked its slowest pace of growth in 24 years.

A cooling property market, slowing factory activity and weak investment have contributed to China's slowdown.

However, the Manila-based development bank has said that weaker investment, particularly in property, will continue to "further curtail" China's growth.

It expects growth in the Asian giant to slow to 7% in 2016.

"This is a much more moderate rate than the average growth of 8.5% in the period since the global financial crisis," the bank said in a statement on Tuesday.

India takes over

But while China's economy is slowing, another economic powerhouse - India - is expected to pick up the slack to spur growth in the region.

Asia's third-largest economy is expected to grow at a faster rate than China by expanding by 7.8% in the 2015 financial year, which ends in March 2016, according to the ADB.

That compares with 7.4% growth in the 2014 financial year, and the bank expects India's economic rise to continue.

"This momentum is expected to build to 8.2% growth in financial year 2016, aided by expected easing of monetary policy and a pickup in capital expenditure," the ADB said.

The Indian government's efforts to remove "structural bottlenecks" is boosting investors' confidence, it added.

The 2015 forecast is, however, below the government's official target rate of up to 8.5%.

Sharing knowledge

Ahead of the release of the ADB's outlook for the region, the bank's president said the ADB and the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) could "complement each other" rather than be rivals.

Takehiko Nakao said the ADB had spoken to Chinese officials to share "knowledge and experience".

At the weekend, International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde said the IMF would be "delighted" to co-operate with the AIIB.

The AIIB has more than 30 members and is envisaged as a development bank similar to the World Bank.

However, the US has criticised the UK and other countries for supporting the bank. The US is concerned that the AIIB could be a rival to the World Bank, and be used as a lever for Beijing to extend its influence in the region.

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