BEIJING: China's economy is set to grow by at least 8% in 2009, according to the average estimate of twenty of the country's leading brokerage firms, reports state-run newspaper the People's Daily.

Government-backed brokerage China Galaxy Securities and Henan-based Central China Securities were among the more optimistic forecasters, predicting that the economy will expand by between 8.5% and 9% next year.

By contrast, Guotai Junan Securities foresees growth of 7%, with the possibility of economic deflation for next year as a whole, and a low watermark of expansion in the third quarter.

Changjiang Securities says Q2 2009 will post the slowest growth rate, while Shenying & Wangguo and Haitong Securities both suggest that 2010 will prove more economically challenging than next year.

Data sourced from People's Daily; additional content by WARC Online