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 China Daily: 2009-07-04: Economists Alay Fears over Inflation 

SHANGHAI: The chances of a widespread inflation occurring in China due to its loose monetary policy seem unlikely given the country's surplus production capacity, but the central government should be cautious against asset price bubbles generated by excess liquidity, renowned economists from the World Bank said on Friday.

"It will take years of robust economic growth to digest the current global overcapacity due to the financial crisis, and therefore, the government's injection of liquidity into the market will not bring about inflation in the short term," said Hans Timmer, head of Global Trends in the World Bank's Development Prospects Group (DECPG).

The prompt stimulus actions by the central governments have avoided the unprecedented financial crisis following the pattern from the Great Depression in the 1930s and 1940s, Timmer said at an Asia-Pacific Finance and Development Center conference in Shanghai.

The constant price hikes in commodities during the recent months have triggered fears of widespread inflation, propelling people to invest more in property as a hedge against inflation and swelled real estate transaction volumes.

Liquidity acts as the "oxygen" in the financial market, so a boom needs liquidity to feed on, said Mansoor Dailami, head of International Finance in the World Bank's DECPG. However, he warned that the excess liquidity in the market would cause asset bubbles.

"The Chinese government should pay attention to the capital flow generated from the ample credit supply going to the stock or property market," he said, hoping that stimulus policies would help lift productivity rather than produce bubbles, Timmer said.

China's new loans in June may exceed 1 trillion yuan from 664.6 billion yuan recorded in May, according to a report in the Shanghai-based China Business News. Reports said the country's banking regulators have recently sent teams to check on the misuse of bank loans in stock and property markets.

Global investors will behave more prudentially after the crisis, while emerging markets like China and India with lower investment risks would attract more private capital flows amid higher pressure on asset price hikes, Dailami said.

The recent recovery signs in the Chinese economy are long term rather than a temporary revival, Timmer said, adding that China will lead the global economic upturn.

(China Daily 07/04/2009 page10)

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