No need for new China stimulus: stats office adviser

BEIJING (Reuters) - China has no need for a huge new economic stimulus, not least because the government has already taken extra steps to boost growth, the former head of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on Friday.

Li Deshui, who still advises the NBS, said market talk of a package that could be twice as large as the 4 trillion yuan ($585 billion) stimulus announced in November was groundless.

Although Wen Jiabao did not announce a second stimulus in his annual address to parliament on Thursday, disappointing overseas investors, the premier did list a series of pro-growth policies that have already been implemented, Li told a news conference.

These included a 500 billion yuan ($73 billion) reduction in the tax burden on firms and individuals; subsidies for affordable housing and for farmers; and help for unemployed migrant workers and college graduates.

“There are so many detailed, feasible measures in Premier Wen’s work report. Why are so many people just blind to that?” Li said.

The key risk facing the Chinese economy was slowing external demand, not problems at home, Li said.

But he said China would have no problem hitting the government’s goal of 8 percent growth this year and dismissed the possibility that China might ever suffer back-to-back quarters of negative growth.

The economy expanded 6.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008 from a year earlier, a pace that no other country could match, Li noted. “China’s economy does not have and will not have a recession,” he said.

Nor was China’s financial system facing a crisis.

“Our money will not be spent on dealing with bubbles or cleaning up trash like Western countries; our money will be spent exclusively on promoting economic growth,” he said.

Reporting by Zhou Xin; Writing by Alan Wheatley, Editing by Jacqueline Wong