BIZCHINA> Survey/Opinion
China economy forecast to grow 8.6% in 2009
Updated: 2008-11-22 20:36

China's economy is forecast to expand at a slower annual rate of 8.6 percent next year, China Galaxy Securities said in its latest research report on Saturday.

The economy grew 9.9 percent annually in the first three quarters this year, sharply down from 11.9 percent last year. To spur economic growth, China has unveiled a 4 trillion yuan ($586 billion) stimulus package through 2010, cut borrowing costs three times and relaxed credit controls.

The slowing economic growth in the world's fourth-largest economy would make it hard for businesses to achieve higher earnings growth, the report said.

Companies, excluding banks, oil producers, and steel and power sectors where profits move to volatile products prices, are expected to see earnings grow 7 percent in 2009 and 15 percent in 2010.

When taking account of the economic growth rate, Chinese shares are no longer expensive, it said, adding the reasonable price-earning (P/E) ratio is at 18.2 times.

The average P/E ratio was 16.02 times for stocks on the Shanghai Stock Exchange and 16.49 times for those on the smaller Shenzhen Stock Exchange on Friday.

The leading brokerage said stocks supply could better match demand next year with increases in liquidity following easing in monetary polices.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index had plunged 68 percent from its record high in mid October last year amid concerns of oversupply of shares and of a sharp slowdown of the economy.

The securities firm suggested that investors overweight sectors including pharmaceuticals, electronics, food and drinks, construction materials, builders, banks, and petrochemicals.

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