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China s fixed asset investment up 27.3 percent

BEIJING, August 15 – China\’s urban fixed asset investment rose 27.3 percent in the first seven months of 2008 compared with a year earlier, the National Bureau of Statistics said Friday.

Fixed-asset investment in cities — a key measure of spending on productive capacity — was 7.22 trillion yuan (1.05 trillion dollars) for the period, the bureau said.

"In July, fixed-asset investment again accelerated to a certain extent," said a statement accompanying the bureau\’s release of last month\’s data.

"That\’s positive for tackling the issues arising from a weakening in external demand," it said.

The fixed-asset investment figures were issued at the end of a week in which government data had confirmed China\’s export-dependent economy is facing a slowdown due mainly to decelerated global demand for its goods.

China\’s trade surplus declined 9.6 percent in the first seven months from the same period last year, customs authorities announced earlier.

Observers said this would add further urgency to a decision by Beijing to no longer focus exclusively on inflation control and care more about growth creation.

While foreign trade has weakened, fixed-asset investments have maintained stable growth, the bureau said.

"Urban fixed asset investment has maintained a growth level of about 25 percent every month," said the statement. "That\’s an important accomplishment."

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Investment in property projects has been particularly vibrant since the start of this year, increasing 30.9 percent in the first seven months from the same period in 2007, according to the bureau.

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