BEIJING: China's economy will grow by between 6% and 8% in 2009 according to a Bloomberg survey of 14 forecasters from around the world, with Merrill Lynch analyst Lu Ting also predicting it will be "the first major economy to recover from the current global meltdown."

The lowest annual growth forecast came from SJ Seymour, an international financial services firm, which predicts a 5% expansion this year.

Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse and Nomura International providing growth estimates of 8% for the year, though these totals will still be down on the double-digit expansion experienced by the Chinese economy in the recent past.

Major reasons for optimism were said to include the relatively strong performance of the economy last year despite the onset of the downturn, as well as the government's 4 trillion yuan ($585bn; €455bn; £407bn) stimulus package, announced in November.

Merrill Lynch's Lu also argued further resources were available, adding: "China has perhaps the deepest pockets in the world. It can relentlessly ramp up spending to create jobs and meet its growth target."

Data sourced from Bloomberg; additional content by WARC staff