Tokyo: Japan’s finance minister downplayed concerns over signs of overheating in China’s economy, saying that both China and Japan were on steady footing.
“As for China’s economy, my view is that it is moving steadily,” Koji Omi told a news conference after a regular Cabinet meeting.
As per data that was released, China’s GDP grew 11.1% in the first three months of 2007 from a year earlier. That was faster than growth of 10.4% in the fourth quarter of 2006 and exceeded expectations of 10.3% growth.
Beijing pledged to curb rapid economic growth and maintain price stability after the data’s release, signaling a near-term policy tightening.
Prospects for slower growth in China, a major regional trading power, sent stock markets in Japan, China and elsewhere in Asia tumbling on 19 April, although they bounced back on 20 April.
Omi kept tightlipped about the equity markets, saying he wants to “refrain from making specific comments on how the foreign-exchange markets are doing or how the stock markets are doing.”
Still, in a show of his confidence in global growth, he reiterated the rosy view on the world’s economy which he and other finance chiefs from the Group of Seven leading industrialized countries announced late last week in Washington.
“During the G-7 (meeting), we had debates over the world’s economy, Japan’s economy, as well as China’s economy, and we agreed that (global economies) are on a solid footing overall,” he said. “We agreed that the fundamentals of the world’s economy overall were in a good shape.”
Despite growing concerns over the health of the U.S. economy, a key driver of global expansion, G-7 finance heads said in its closing statement issued after their gathering: “Although risks remain, the global economy is having its strongest sustained expansion in more than 30 years and is becoming more balanced.”
The Japanese finance minister also said that the group has a consensus that foreign-exchange rates should mirror the fundamentals of the underlying economies.