REFILE-UPDATE 2-China 2013 GDP growth seen at 8 pct-state think tank
(Refiles to take out extraneous numbers)
* Think tank sees 2013 GDP up 8 pct; govt 2012 target is 7.5 pct
* Recommends government expand fiscal deficit, VAT reform
SHANGHAI, Dec 14 (Reuters) - A state-backed think tank has forecast China's GDP growth next year at around 8 percent -- above the likely government target -- while calling for an expansion in the central government's fiscal deficit to offset an uncertain external environment. The State Information Center said in a report published in the China Securities Journal that China should continue to implement a proactive fiscal policy and prudent monetary policy to promote efforts to reform the economy. The report's recommendation that the deficit be allowed to increase by 100 billion yuan ($16.04 billion) to 650 billion yuan in 2013 while broadening reform of the value added tax and reducing the burden on smaller companies echoes a recent recommendation from the influential Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. China's 2012 central government deficit target is 550 billion yuan while the local government deficit target is 250 billion yuan. China has yet to release an official growth target for 2013, but sources expect the government to maintain the 2012 target of 7.5 percent. This year's target marked the first downward revision after more than a decade of 8 percent growth targets, as the maturing economy shifts down to slower growth rates. higher levels of fixed-asset investment to offset weak export demand, sources involved in internal discussions about the plans told Reuters last week.
China's annual growth rate fell for the seventh straight quarter in the third quarter. Economists forecast growth is picking up in the October-December quarter and they expect full-year expansion to top the government target. The macroeconomic policies of the world's major economies in 2013 will remain loose and, while a moderate recovery will continue, uncertainty will still be present, the report said. Labour costs are expected to fall slightly, while housing prices could rise moderately.
FORECASTS FROM THE STATE INFORMATION CENTER:
2012 YTD 2013 forecast GDP +7.0 pct +8.0 pct Industrial production +10.0 pct +10.5 pct - light industry +10.2 pct +10.3 pct - heavy industry +9.8 pct +10.6 pct Fixed asset investment +20.7 pct +22.0 pct Real estate investment +16.7 pct +15.0 pct Retail sales +14.2 pct +14.6 pct Exports +7.3 pct +8.0 pct Imports +4.1 pct +7.8 pct Trade surplus +38.5 pct +9.7 pct CPI +2.7 pct +3.0 pct PPI -1.7 pct +0.5 pct
($1 = 6.2329 Chinese yuan)
(Reporting by Melanie Lee and Lucy Hornby; Editing by Neil Fullick)