China lowers economic growth target citing "graver" situations

Posted March 06, 2017

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang warned on Sunday that the world's second-largest economy faces severe challenges, signalling a further deceleration as he announced a trimmed 2017 GDP growth target of "around 6.5 percent".

The economy is already growing at its slowest rate in more than a quarter of a century and the latest target unveiled at the opening of China's parliament is lower than a 6.5-7.0 percent range Li set past year.

Taiwan's defence ministry expects China to continue to strengthen its military, spokesman Chen Chung-chi told Reuters, while a senior official at Japan's defence ministry said the spending rise was still large and lacked transparency. The big question is whether this year will be significantly lower.

For countries concerned about China's military might and how it intends to use it, the Vice Minister responded that over the past decades and more the world has experienced crisis, leading to an increase in Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and wars, however, none of these sitiations were caused by China.

Noting limited first-hand information about China in the U.S. press and TV programs, and few articles and books written by Chinese available in the United States, Fu said China will make greater efforts to offer more information on China to the worldwide community, including the United States.

In a press conference to open the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), which directly precedes the NPC, CPPCC spokesperson Wang Guoqing was keen to highlight that, "In 2016, the Chinese economy contributed to 33.2% of world economic growth". "Both the de-globalization trend and protectionism are growing", he said.

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"We will apply a full range of monetary policy instruments, maintain basic stability in liquidity, see that market interest rates remain at an appropriate level, and improve the transmission mechanism of monetary policy", Premier Li said.

"With China's domestic economy still in the phase of transformation, the tasks for China's economic growth are arduous but with great potential", said Song. The government said a year ago it had eliminated 90 million tons of steel production capacity - 2015 production was 800 million tons, or half the world total - and planned to shut down another 150 million tons. The leaders are trying to shift public attention to improvements in incomes, consumer spending and other indicators but the growth target still is closely watched. But the target is closely watched as a forecast of economic performance, which has repercussions throughout Asia, where China is the biggest trading partner for all its neighbours.

Chinese banks doled out a record 12.65 trillion yuan (S$2.6 trillion) of loans a year ago, and data show that new yuan loans hit 2.03 trillion yuan in January, the second-highest ever. In the process, China created 13.14 million urban jobs and increased per capita disposable income by 6.3 per cent. The effort involves encouraging new investments from private industry into state companies, and distancing them from intense control by government departments.

Addressing a gathering of 2,900 delegates, Li talked about China trying to find its footing amid increased instability in worldwide trade and relations. He also rejected activities related to "Taiwan independence".

China this year did not release a specific figure for its national defence budget, unlike in previous years.

Beijing's military spending has grown by double digits nearly every for most of the past two decades.