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How Will China Temper its Growth in 2013?

TAIPEI ( TheStreet) -- Expect turbulence.

That's the message I get from this year's National People's Congress. The political body that meets formally every March heard reports from their Communist Party bosses that the economy will grow just 7.5% this year. It's the envy of other countries but would mark a second straight year of slower growth after 7.8% in 2012.

As increases in China's total goods and services ease, investors have surely priced it into their positions by now. But the importance of the 2013 GDP forecast given in early March isn't the number. It's the narrative that Chinese leaders spun around that figure in reports and speeches linked to the March meetings.

New leaders, incidentally, are taking over the country this month. While the new crew obviously comes from the same Communist Party as the outgoing one and the Party is not about to sell out its long-standing economic ambitions, they could still shake things up to consolidate their personal reputations and gain respect from competing factions.

Don't be surprised about some bumps in global stock markets. China is a leading global indicator, so a jolt there easily ripples to foreign bourses. The bump won't last long if GDP growth really clocks in at 7.5% and the rest of the world averts market-throttling disasters. But certain sectors will slow along with China as a whole.

We heard from top state planner Zhang Ping's March 5 news conference that China was still able to weather global financial storms and that the country had already "increased the quality and efficiency of its economy" following faster buildup before 2012, according to the state-run China Daily newspaper.

But that's the sunny side. Zhang also said an unspecified list of remaining economic problems must be overcome. Premier Wen Jiabao got closer to the point, though he wasn't exactly bursting with specifics either.

China will "implement a prudent monetary policy," and check inflation by "carrying out macroeconomic policies, managing the supply of money and credit, and striving for basic equilibrium in aggregate supply and demand," China's official Xinhua News agency said, quoting the lame-duck premier.
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