GDP target 'pragmatic, achievable'
Stable development will help relieve global economic pressures, analysts say
China has set its GDP growth target at around 5 percent for this year, which analysts said is "pragmatic" and "achievable".
The real figure could turn out to be even higher, they said, suggesting that the country implement more targeted macroeconomic policies to boost consumption and prevent high inflation, in order to promote stable growth.
They also said China's stable growth is set to help relieve global growth pressures as developed economies risk falling into recession while suffering from high inflation.
The growth target was revealed in the Government Work Report, which Premier Li Keqiang delivered at the opening meeting of the first session of the 14th National People's Congress in Beijing on Sunday.
President Xi Jinping, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, attended the meeting.
The report, which has been submitted to the top legislature for deliberation, suggested that China seek to push forward its modernization drive, promote high-quality development, better balance COVID-19 prevention and social and economic development, comprehensively deepen reform and opening-up, and vigorously boost market confidence.
China will enhance the intensity and effectiveness of a proactive fiscal policy and implement a prudent monetary policy in a targeted way, according to the Government Work Report.
Apart from suggesting the GDP growth target for this year, the report also raised its projected deficit-to-GDP ratio to 3 percent and targeted an inflation rate of around 3 percent.
The country will also aim to create around 12 million urban jobs this year and has set a target of around 5.5 percent for the surveyed urban unemployment rate.
China will also continue to encourage and support the development of the private sector and enhance efforts to attract foreign investment, according to the report.
"The GDP target is in line with the principle of 'seeking progress while ensuring stable development'," said Bai Jingming, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Fiscal Sciences. "It is achievable and has left room for (coping with possible) risks."
Compared with last year's GDP growth of 3 percent, this year's target is not high, given the strong rebound of consumption and initial recovery of investment after the country further optimized its COVID-19 response policy in January, Bai said.
"China's growth target for this year is very pragmatic and will help consolidate the country's economic fundamentals," said Raymond Zhu, president of the East and Central China Committee of CPA Australia, a major accounting body.
Zhou Maohua, a macroeconomic analyst at China Everbright Bank, said: "The target is quite solid, because some market expectations have it at above 6 percent. China is capable of achieving it."
Economists suggested that, given the many challenges faced by China, such as the economic downturn and high inflation in the developed world, the country needs to implement targeted macroeconomic policies to ensure stable growth.
"More efforts should be made to support, say, small and micro enterprises, promote private sectors to raise people's income and boost their confidence, and support the foreign trade sectors, given the possibility of slower global growth," said Zhou from China Everbright Bank.
Zhang Yansheng, chief researcher at the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, said, "China needs to promote high-quality foreign trade development and improve the business environment, and the focus should be the negative list for the services industry."
Given the expected weak global growth this year, it is also very important for China to stimulate domestic demand, he said.
Nouriel Roubini, an economics professor at New York University, said last week that the world economy may suffer from high inflation, surging interest rates and economic recession, and forecast that the major developed economies could fall into recession.
Against the backdrop of possible recession in developed economies, China's solid growth after optimizing COVID-19 policy this year will benefit the rest of the world, analysts said.
"The reintegration of the (world's) second-largest economy into the world is bound to have a positive effect on global growth," John Edwards, the UK trade commissioner for China, said in an interview with China Daily's website.
Zhou Lanxu contributed to this story.
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November 23, 2023
November 22, 2023