China targets economic growth of around 6.5pc


CHINA has reduced its growth target to around 6.5 per cent for 2017, as Beijing focuses on stability ahead of a sensitive political gathering later this year, The Telegraph of UK reported.

The Chinese economy slowed to a growth rate of 6.7 per cent last year, the lowest since 1990 as Beijing acts to transform its export-driven economy to a more stable, consumer-led model.

China’s prime minister Li Keqiang made a prediction of “around 6.5 per cent or higher if possible” in his work report, which was delivered at the annual meeting of China’s parliament, the National People’s Congress (NPC).

Last year he predicted the Chinese economy would grow between 6.5 and 7 per cent.

China promised in 2015 to maintain high growth rates up until 2020, as it seeks to double the size of its economy from 2010 figures.Economists believe a 6.5 per cent figure over the next three years would help Beijing achieve that feat.

It would be a serious concern for officials if growth rates slipped below 6.5 per cent in the coming years, although there has been growing recognition among leaders that flexibility is needed in order to carry out the structural reforms.

There have been worries in Beijing, however, about the risks to social stability caused by China’s changing economy, particularly in large, outdated rust-belt industries which China is seeking to transform.

The loss of jobs in these sectors has seen protests in many parts of China in recent years. Mr Li’s report also called for the creation of 11 million jobs in 2017, up by one million from 2016.

“An important reason for stressing the need to maintain steady growth is to ensure employment and improve people’s lives,” Mr Li said.

“Considering our sound economic fundamentals and the capacity they bring for job creation, this target is attainable with hard work.”