Premier Li Keqiang has said that there are five economic indicators the government is most concerned about. At a symposium on the state of the economy last month, the Premier said that economic indicators should be maintained at a proper range -- “economic growth, commodity prices, employment, income and environmental protection should be in coordination”.
“We should not forget that China is a developing country -- we are still in the primary stage of socialism, and will remain so for a long time. In a country with a population of 1.3 billion, development is the base to solve all problems,” the Premier said at a symposium held in June 2014. “We should not focus only on GDP -- but it does not mean we do not want our economy to develop at a proper rate.” the Premier added.
Since the implementation of reform and opening up, China has amazed the world with an average annual economic growth of 9.8 percent. Now, being the world’s second-largest economy, China’s economic growth not only plays a key role in the country’s development but is also provides strong support for world economic growth.
Steady economic growth has been one of the most important topics at past State Council executive meetings. “It is of first priority, and the fundamental condition for our people to live good lives,” the Premier said at the executive meeting held on March 18, 2015.
Compared with economic growth, commodity prices not only affect macro-economic trends, but concern every person’s life -- if they grow too fast, it will lead to inflation; if they decrease, it will lead to deflation.
Thus the government pays more attention to the fluctuation of commodity prices. At the NPC press conference held this March, Premier Li stressed when answering a Korean journalist’s question that there was no deflation in China. However, due to the plummeting of international commodity prices, the general commodity prices in China are low. “We are prepared to handle the problem,” Premier Li said.
According to the latest economic data for the first half of 2015, China’s CPI increased 1.3 percent compared with the same period last year. This is in the “proper range” according to the Premier.
In the press releases of the past State Council executive meetings, the word “employment” appeared 150 times.
Employment of university students; taxation policies, streamlining administration and delegating powers to support entrepreneurship and employment and publishing the unemployment rate in big cities and towns - all of these were subject to intensive discussions at executive meetings.
As a result of these policies, the employment rate rose despite downward economic pressure.
“Employment brings income, and people can truly benefit from economic development,” the Premier said at an executive meeting on June 10.
Premier Li has said that compared with GDP growth, most people are concerned more about their own income.
Listing income as one of the key economic indicators is shows the concern of the government. It also reflects what the Premier said at the press conference of the Two Sessions last year: “We care more about people’s lives than the numbers.”
According to the latest statistics for the first half of the year, the growth rate of disposable personal income continued to be higher than that of GDP.
Environmental problems such as smog reflect the imbalance of China’s economic development structure.
Since this government took office, there were seven executive meetings devoted exclusively to environmental protection; and a number of important ecological projects were approved.
“Pollution control is closely related to people’s lives, and is also a key measure to change the economic structure,” the Premier said at an executive meeting.
Balancing the indicators
The five economic indicators also have some internal contradictions, which makes it more difficult for the government to promote the upgrading of the economy.
How to balance the five indicators? “We should keep tabs on the current situation, judge from a long-term perspective and use the correct macro-controls ... and continue to make efforts,” the Premier said at a symposium held in July.