On Saturday, the National People’s Congress reduced the 2016 forecast from seven per cent to “between 6.5 and 7 per cent” with Premier Li Keqiang warning the meeting in Beijing of a “difficult battle” ahead.
Official figures claimed growth in the world’s second largest economy increased by 6.9 per cent, it’s lowest in a quarter of a century. Some analysts, however, believe the true GDP growth figure might be lower.
But Xu Shaoshi, who heads China’s state planning agency, the National Development and Reform Commission, told reporters that the nation’s economy will “absolutely not experience a hard landing”, saying that predictions of an abrupt economic slowdown were “destined to come to nothing”.
Mr Xu accepted that the slowdown in growth in the global economy would pose problems for Chinese growth this year. “First, we estimate the slow recovery and low growth rates in the world’s economy will continue for a period of time,” he said.
“Also we could not overlook the risks from unstable (global) financial markets, falling prices of commodities and risks of geopolitics.”
In his speech to the congress, Mr Li said, “In setting a projected growth rate of between 6.5 and 7 per cent we have taken into consideration the need to finish building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and the need to advance structural reform. “It will also help guide market expectations and keep them stable.”
The Wall Street Journal commented that, although China had “tweaked its economic blueprint…the results should be more of the same: debt-fuelled, sluggish growth”.
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