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China economy seen growing 6.6 percent in fourth quarter: govt think tank


SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China's economy is expected to grow at an annual 6.6 percent in the fourth quarter and post overall growth of 6.7 percent for the full year, the China Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) said.

The predictions by CASS, a top think-tank that advises the government, were published by the official Shanghai Securities Journal newspaper on Wednesday, and were line with the government's own full-year forecasts of 6.5-7 percent growth.

"Economic growth in the fourth quarter is likely to fall slightly but within a normal and stable range," the newspaper quoted Wang Hongju, a senior researcher at CASS, as saying.

"We should, as long as there's stable local demand, continue supply-side reform, strengthen the sustainability of economic development, and resolve hidden risks in the economy to keep the economy going at a reasonable pace," he said.

China announced a target range for GDP growth for the first time this year, indicating that the country is on track for its slowest growth since 2009.

CASS said fourth-quarter growth would be affected by the government-directed clean up of excess capacity and debt, while traditionally strong growth drivers such as infrastructure, property and private investment faced downward pressure.

The consumer price index (CPI) was seen likely to rise 2.1 percent for the fourth quarter and about 2 percent for the full year. China posted year-on-year CPI growth of 1.3 percent in August.

(Reporting by Jackie Cai and Brenda Goh; Editing by Eric Meijer)