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Number Seven Thousand Two Hundred and Fifty Two - 06 March 2023
Iran Daily - Number Seven Thousand Two Hundred and Fifty Two - 06 March 2023 - Page 9

China sets modest growth target of about 5% as parliament opens

China set a modest target for economic growth this year of around 5% on Sunday as it kicked off the annual session of its National People’s Congress (NPC), which is poised to implement the biggest government shake-up in a decade.
The economy gave one of its weakest performances in decades last year, when gross domestic product (GDP) grew by just 3%, squeezed by three years of COVID controls, a crisis in the vast property sector and a crackdown on private enterprise, Reuters reported.
In his work report, outgoing Premier Li Keqiang stressed the need for economic stability and expanding consumption, setting a goal to create around 12 million urban jobs this year, up from last year’s target of at least 11 million, and warned that risks remain in the real estate sector.
Li set a budget deficit target at 3.0% of GDP, widening from a goal of around 2.8% last year.
“Global inflation remains high, global economic and trade growth is losing steam, and external attempts to suppress and contain China are escalating,” Li said during his speech to open the parliament, which will run through March 13.
“At home, the foundation for stable growth needs to be consolidated, insufficient demand remains a pronounced problem, and the expectations of private investors and businesses are unstable,” he said.
This year’s growth target is at the low end of expectations, as policy sources had recently told Reuters a range as high as 6% could be set. It is also below last year’s target of around 5.5%.
Alfredo Montufar-Helu, Beijing-based head of the China Center at the Conference Board, said setting a higher growth target would have required massive stimulus and “exacerbated the structural imbalances that China is trying to deal with to achieve its long-term development goals.”
The lower target is more achievable, he said, and “recognises that the Chinese economy will be dealing with significant economic headwinds this year”.
China’s state planner said it aims to increase the incomes of low earners and bring more people into the middle-income group. The planner unveiled measures to spur consumption, but stopped short of direct spending, such as cash handouts.
To bolster growth, the government plans to stick with its playbook of spending on infrastructure, increasing funding for big-ticket projects with 3.8 trillion yuan ($550b) in special local government bonds, up from last year’s 3.65 trillion yuan.


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