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Economic priorities set for next year

By XIN ZHIMING | China Daily | Updated: 2017-12-09 06:27

Resolving risks, targeting poverty and controlling pollution top agenda

China will make efforts to forestall and resolve major risks as well as push targeted poverty alleviation and pollution control next year, China’s top leadership agreed at a major meeting on Friday.

An overall plan should be made to prevent major risks, carry out targeted poverty reduction and control pollution, said a Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee meeting, presided over by Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee.

The meeting said the country should continue to implement its supply-side structural reform, stabilize economic growth, promote reforms and push forward opening-up next year, according to a China Central Television report.

China should contain the overall leverage ratio and raise the financial sector’s capability of serving the real economy to prevent and defuse major risks, the meeting urged.

“The meeting set a tone for China’s economic work and defined its major priorities for next year,” said Dong Yu¬ping, an economist at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. “The most crucial task is to control financial risks.

The overall leverage levels cannot be allowed to rise further, and the real economy must have access to adequate financing to ensure its health,” he said.

The meeting stressed stabilization of growth, which means China may face tough challenges next year if the global economy sours, said Liang Haiming, chief economist of the China Silk Road iValley Research Institute, a Beijing-based think tank. “Only by achieving stable growth can China become a leading engine of global growth next year.”

He said he expected that China’s GDP growth target for 2018, expected to come out in March, could be unchanged from that for this year, which is around 6.5 percent.

The meeting also urged acceleration of housing system reform and continued establishment of a long-term mechanism for managing the sector.

“The putting forward and implementation of the long-term real estate management mechanism has helped offset homebuyers’ anxiety caused by rapid housing price rises, and the mechanism will continue to have a major impact on the real estate market next year,” said Jenny Wu, senior director and head of residential with Cushman & Wakefield, East China, a real estate information and services provider.

On Wednesday, President Xi met with representatives of non-Communist parties and those without party affiliations to seek their advice on the country’s economic work.

“The essential feature of the economy at the present stage is that it is in a transitional period from a phase of rapid growth to a stage of high-quality development,” Xi said.

Wu Yiyao contributed to this story.

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