China outlines plan to stabilize economy in critical year for Xi

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China outlines plan to stabilize economy in critical year for Xi

BEIJING – Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Saturday announced a target for the country’s economy to expand by “about 5.5 percent” this year, as the government looks at stabilizing growth in the face of global uncertainty from the pandemic and war in Ukraine. signal of emphasis.

Premier Li set the goal in his annual policy speech at the opening in Beijing of a week-long session of China’s Communist Party-controlled legislature. The goal appeared to be aimed at maintaining political and economic stability, as China’s leader Xi Jinping seeks to secure another five-year term in power at a party meeting this fall.

The growth target suggests that China values ​​economic stability more than trying to rebalance production. Beijing has been trying, with limited success, to move the economy away from its reliance on debt-fueled infrastructure investments and toward a more sustainable reliance on domestic consumption.

Western economists have predicted that the Chinese economy could only grow by 5 percent by further ramping up its already heavy borrowing and spending.

The stimulus plan comes amid growing signs of a slowdown in the Chinese economy. The ongoing lockdown and travel restrictions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic have led to a reduction in spending at hotels and restaurants.

China’s huge construction industry is coming to a standstill as home buyers become wary, developers default on loans. The declining revenue from the sale of land has made some local governments more cautious about building additional roads and bridges.

The government had said in January that last year’s growth was 8.1 percent. But till the last three months of last year, the economy was growing at only 4 per cent.

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Keith Bradsher from Beijing and Chris Buckley from Sydney reported. Lee you, liu yi And Claire Fu Contributed to research.

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