China sets modest economic growth target of 5% for 2023

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At the annual session of the National People’s Congress on Sunday, China set a modest economic target of “around 5 per cent” for 2023 as it geared up for several challenges, including weakening demand for Chinese exports, and crackdown on the private sector.

Making the announcement, outgoing Premier Li Keqiang stressed on the need for economic stability and expanding consumption. He also said that China is looking to set a goal to create around 12 million urban jobs this year.

He set a budget deficit target at 3 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP), widening from a goal of around 2.8 per cent last year.

“We should give priority to the recovery and expansion of consumption,” said Li, whose speech lasted for almost an hour in the opening session of the parliament, which will function till March 13, according to Reuters news agency.

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“The incomes of urban and rural residents should be boosted through multiple channels. We should stabilise spending on big-ticket items and promote recovery in consumption of consumer services,” he was quoted as saying.

Last year, China grew by just 3 per cent, one of its worst performances in decades, as it continued to reel under three years of severe COVID-19 restrictions.

In his work report, outgoing Premier Li Keqiang emphasised the need for economic stability and expanding consumption, setting a goal to create around 12 million urban jobs this year, up from last year’s target of at least 11 million.

The GDP growth target of 5 per cent was lower than the average forecasts of economists who predicted a goal in the range of 5.5-6 per cent.

“China’s economy is staging a steady recovery and demonstrating vast potential and momentum for further growth,” Li said.

He warned that “uncertainties in the external environment are on the rise”, noting high global inflation.

(With inputs from agencies)


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