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China to set GDP 2012 target below 7pct

Nikkei reported that the Chinese government is expected to set its economic growth target at the 7% level for 2012, below the 8% outlook in place for the last seven years.

Until now, China has said an 8% increase in gross domestic product is necessary for employment and social stability. But it is expected to lower the target this year to reflect downside risk, especially the European debt crisis.

The government is believed to be laying a course for a soft landing to prevent the real estate and other markets from overheating, in addition to managing public expectations for the economy.

Chinese premier Mr Wen Jiabao is expected to unveil the new target at the annual National People's Congress, slated to convene March 5.

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