China's looming trade deficit?

New economic data released in China on Tuesday eased some fears that the country is in for a hard economic landing.

The National Bureau of Statistics says the country's gross domestic product grew by 9.1 percent in the first three quarters of 2011, down just slightly from the 9.5 percent expansion of the second quarter. That's in addition to news earlier than inflation, a critical component, has started to slow down. But not all experts are convinced things are rosy. Major trouble spots like the looming loan crash in Zhejiang province and elsewhere are still drawing attention.

In comments to the official China Daily newspaper, a former vice minister of commerce said he thinks China may end up with its first annual trade deficit since 1993.

"China's export-reliant enterprises are facing their toughest time in years. The possibility of a full-year trade deficit cannot be ruled out next year," said Wei Jianguo, now head of a government-affiliated economic think tank.