China sets annual GDP growth target of more than 6%

BEIJING: China’s leaders set an “above 6%” economic growth target for 2021 on Friday, at the opening of the country’s annual legislative session.

According to an advance transcript of his speech, Premier Li Keqiang said: “The target of more than 6% will enable us all to devote our full energy to promoting reform, innovation and high-quality development.”

Officials avoided a specific target in 2020 for the first time in years, after the Covid-19 outbreak in China caused its first economic downturn in decades.

Then the economy freeze raised some doubts about the Communist Party’s pledge to continue to prosper in exchange for indisputable political power.

Some analysts had believed that the global uncertainty and distortions caused by the epidemic would push China to backtrack from its second-year target.

But with China containing the Coronavirus domestically thanks to strict lockdowns and mass virus testing, the world’s second largest economy is poised for a strong comeback.

“In setting this target, we have taken into account the recovery of economic activity,” Lee said, according to an advance transcript of his speech.

The government usually sets economic growth targets that they exceed regularly.

Based on forecasts of several analysts, the Chinese economy is expected to grow around 8% to 9% this year, according to OCBC Bank’s Greater China Research Division head, Tommy Shi.

Aside from the growth target, Chinese authorities are also looking to create more than 11 million new urban jobs, and keep the surveyed urban unemployment rate at around 5.5%, according to Li’s speech.

China has set the budget deficit at “around 3.2%”. Just below last year’s figure.

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