April 21st, 2024

China’s economic growth target for 2024 is about 5%, on par with last year’s rate

By Ken Moritsugu And Elaine Kurtenbach, The Associated Press on March 4, 2024.

Chinese people wait for the flag raising ceremony to begin beneath the large portrait of former Chinese leader Mao Zedong on Tiananmen Gate in Beijing, China, Tuesday, March 5, 2024. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

BEIJING (AP) – China’s official growth target for this year is around 5%, Premier Li Qiang said Tuesday in an annual report on the government’s plans and performance that prioritized both security and the economy.

Li also said the government would issue 1 trillion yuan (about $139 billion) in “ultralong special treasury bonds” in 2024 and over each of the coming several years – a long hoped-for extra promise of government spending to help support flagging growth.

The ruling Communist Party has been emphasizing the need to raise consumer spending to help drive the economy. But the consumer-led recovery it was counting on after anti-pandemic controls ended in late 2022 faltered midway through last year.

Falling housing prices and worries over jobs left many families either reluctant or unable to spend more.

Last year, the economy grew at a 5.2% pace, but that was after a very slow 3% annual growth rate in 2022, when the country was enduring the worst disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Li said the leadership would strive to improve its handling of policies.

“We should communicate policies to the public in a well-targeted way to create a stable, transparent and predictable policy environment,” Li said in a speech on government plans before the ceremonial National People’s Congress in the Great Hall of the People.

Li said the government would continue with a “pro-active fiscal policy and prudent monetary policy,” suggesting no major change in the leadership’s approach to pursuing what it calls “high quality” development.

He said policies should be more targeted and effective and reflect “the expectations of enterprises and the people when deciding on work and policy priorities.”

Li was addressing the nearly 3,000 delegates of the National People’s Congress and about 2,000 members of a parallel advisory body in Beijing’s majestic Great Hall of the People, adjacent to Tiananmen Square.

The meetings of the national congress run for about a week and are China’s biggest political events of the year. The congress only endorses policies already set by top leaders, but it provides a platform to showcase the communist party accomplishments and to build support for it’s aims going forward.

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