China is aiming for a growth rate above 6 per cent for 2021, Premier Li Keqiang announced.
Speaking at the opening of this year’s National People’s Congress, China’s national legislature, he said that the taget “will enable all of us to devote full energy to promoting reform, innovation, and high-quality development”.
China’s economy grew last year, despite the pandemic, being the only major global economy to do so. However, this was anaemic when compared to the growth seen in previous years, with the 2.3 per cent rate being its weakest result in decades.
Last year’s growth came despite a sharp 6.8 per cent contraction in the first quarter of 2020 as entire regions were forced into lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Government hopes to continue the rebound. “In setting this target, we have taken into account the recovery of economic activity.”
The target is modest when compared to that growth expected by observers, with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for example envisaging a growth rate of 8.1 per cent.
Urban unemployment is also being targeted by the Chinese authorities, with an estimated 11 million new urban jobs to be created this year, up from nine million in 2020.
The Government also set a budget deficit goal of around 3.2 per cent of GDP, although the country’s Finance Ministry expressed concern about the state of the government budget.
“The outlook for government revenue and expenditure in 2021 appears quite grave, with even greater difficulty in balancing the budget and risks in key areas such as debt that cannot be overlooked,” it said.
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