China to set lower economic growth target, report says

Business | 11 Jan 2019 6:17 pm

China plans to set a lower economic growth target of 6 to 6.5 percent in 2019 compared with last year’s target of "around” 6.5 percent, Reuters reported, citing policy sources, as Beijing gears up to cope with higher U.S. tariffs and weakening domestic demand.

The proposed target, to be unveiled at the annual parliamentary session in March, was endorsed by top leaders at the annual closed-door Central Economic Work Conference in mid-December, according to four sources with knowledge of the meeting’s outcome.

Data later this month is expected to show the Chinese economy grew around 6.6 percent in 2018 - the weakest since 1990. Analysts are forecasting a further loss of momentum this year before policy support steps begin to kick in.

"It’s very difficult for growth to exceed 6.5 percent (this year), and there could be trouble if growth dips below 6 percent,” said one source who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.

Growth of about 6.2 percent is needed in the next two years to meet the ruling Communist Party’s longstanding goal of doubling gross domestic product and incomes in the decade to 2020, and to turn China into a "modestly prosperous” nation.

"Considering employment, income and stability, we need growth of at least 6 percent this year,” said one of the sources.

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