China aims to keep its economy growing by at least 6.5 percent over the next five years while pushing hard to create more jobs and restructure inefficient industries, Premier Li Keqiang said on Saturday.
Growth of 6.5 percent would mark a ripping pace for most countries but would still be the slowest in China in a quarter century as world’s No. 2 economy grapples with gyrating financial markets, softening global trade and efforts to reduce environmental degradation.
“Our country’s development faces more and greater difficulties, and severer challenges this year, so we must be prepared for a tough battle,” Li said ahead of the country’s annual meeting of parliament.
In 2016, Beijing will aim for an economic growth rate between 6.5-7 percent, as Reuters previously reported, with a consumer inflation target of around 3 percent and money supply expansion of around 13 percent, according to a series of draft reports distributed Saturday before the parliament opened.
Many had been hoping China would post an aggressive target for fiscal spending to prop growth. But the draft goal of running a fiscal deficit equivalent to 3 percent of GDP, while marking a rise from the previous year’s target of 2.3 percent, still disappointed some who had hoped for a number closer to 4.
“The budget deficit of 3 percent is not enough and should be increased,” economist and former central bank advisor Yu Yongding told Reuters on the sidelines of the meeting. Read more