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China’s Economy May Face ‘Rough’ Landing, Singapore’s Lee Says

Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong says China's economy may be headed for a "rough landing" according to a transcript of an interview airing today on CNN’s“ Fareed Zakaria GPS” program. Photographer: Munshi Ahmed/Bloomberg

Feb. 5 (Bloomberg) -- China’s economy may be headed for a “rough landing,” Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said.

“They’ve built a lot of infrastructure. They have built a lot of capacity in many industries, autos, some of the electronics industries,” Lee said, according to a transcript of an interview airing today on CNN’s“ Fareed Zakaria GPS” program. “There may be a rough landing, but they will get through it.”

A Chinese government report on Feb. 1 showed that export orders fell last month even as manufacturing expanded. The stronger manufacturing boosted concern that that the world’s second-largest economy will decelerate further as the government refrains from loosening monetary policy to tame inflation and curb property prices.

China’s economy expanded 10.4 percent annually in the past 10 years, five times the pace of the U.S., as the government boosted spending on roads and bridges and manufacturers exported everything from toys to socks.

China’s economy grew at a 9.2 percent rate in 2011 while expansion will slow to 8.5 percent this year, according to economists’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Asked about China’s role in Asia, Lee said “every superpower or big country has to be looked on with a certain careful respect by others not quite so huge.”

He said the U.S presence in the Pacific that followed World War II is “still welcomed and is still considered benign. And that’s really a good example for the Chinese to seek to emulate.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Eric Engleman in Washington at eengleman1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Ann Hughey at ahughey@bloomberg.net

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