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High-energy-consuming Sectors Grow Slower in H1

China's high-energy-consuming industries experienced a growth slowdown in the first half, sources with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said on Friday.

The six high-energy-consuming sectors in China -- electric power, nonferrous metals, chemicals, iron and steel, building materials, and petroleum -- recorded a growth of 14.5 percent in output, 5.6 percentage points lower than the growth rate for the same period last year.

The government has adopted a policy of curbing the development of high-energy-consuming and high-polluting sectors, in order to help improve environmental protection and achieve a sustainable economic growth.

Despite the declining growth rate, investment in some of the six sectors still increased at an accelerated speed. Over the past half year, investment in nonmetals mining rose 46.7 percent and dressing and nonferrous metals smelting 39.2 percent.

Some experts attributed the investment rise to the local governments seeking more investment to boost their GDP growth.

The central government set a goal to reduce the energy intensity index (measured by energy consumption per 10,000 yuan of GDP) by 20 percent and major pollutants discharges by 10 percent for the 2006-2010 period. The energy intensity index went down 3.27 percent last year.

Despite efforts to adjust the country's industrial structure so as to reduce the weight of energy-consuming sectors and to attain a "greener" economy, heavy industry still grew faster at 17.3 percent than light industry at 13.9 percent from January to May, according to the National Development and Reform Commission.

(Xinhua News Agency July 25, 2008)

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