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China sets 2017 GDP growth target at around 6.5%

Updated: Mar 5,2017 9:01 AM     Xinhua

BEIJING — China has set its GDP growth target at around 6.5 percent for 2017, compared with a target range of 6.5-7 percent for 2016, according to a government work report on March 5.

“[China will] pursue better results in actual economic work,” according to the report from Premier Li Keqiang at the opening meeting of the annual session of China’s top legislature, the National People’s Congress.

This closely-watched target is a 25-year low, down from last year’s actual growth of 6.7 percent. The previous low was a 6 percent target for the gross national product growth in 1992.

The projected target is in line with both economic principles and realities, the report reads, adding that it will help stabilize market expectations and facilitate the country’s structural adjustments.

It will also contribute to achieving the goal of finishing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects.

“An important reason for stressing the need to maintain steady growth is to ensure employment and improve people’s lives,” the report says.

This year’s target for urban job creation is over 11 million, up by 1 million from 2016, underlining the greater importance China attaches to employment.

“Considering our sound economic fundamentals and the capacity they bring for job creation, this target is attainable with hard work,” the report says.

Jia Kang, a national political adviser and economist with the China Academy of New Supply-side Economics, said that China has set a “reasonable target” for economic growth.

China’s year-on-year growth has slowed for six years in a row, falling from a growth rate of more than 10 percent in 2010.

“With more and more encouraging signs for economic improvement, the economy may find the bottom near this year’s target,” Jia said.

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