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China sets sights on reform, stable economic growth

Updated: 2013-12-15 23:26
By Zheng Yangpeng ( China Daily)

China will maintain continuous and stable macroeconomic policies in 2014, said the head of the country's top economic planning agency on Sunday.

Xu Shaoshi, chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, made his remarks following the statement issued on Friday after the four-day tone-setting Central Economic Conference, attended by top Chinese leaders.

The statement said "the core is to seek steady progress and promote reforms and innovations" to soundly manage economic work next year.

Niu Li, an expert with the State Information Center, a think tank under the NDRC, said stability will be the core objective of the government, although major growth targets have yet to be announced.

"The central economic work conference has set the keynote of 'seeking progress in a stable manner'. On one hand, macroeconomic targets and management would seek 'continuity' and 'stability'. On the other hand, progress means reasonable growth, implementation of reform agendas and rebalancing the economic structure," he said.

HSBC chief China economist Qu Hongbin said he expects "Beijing to maintain the current policy stance to keep growth within its comfort zone".

The GDP growth rate and CPI targets for 2014 are likely to remain unchanged from last year — 7.5 percent for the former and 3.5 percent for the latter, Qu said.

At the national reform and development work meeting on Sunday, Xu of the NDRC laid out six major aspects for next year's economic work, including streamlining government's administrative approval system, deepening reform in investment management system, and pushing forward pricing reform for power, natural gas and freight.

Xu said that in the investment sector, the government will minimize the scope of corporate investment subjected to administrative approval as much as possible, and government investments should be scrutinized closely. The NDRC will also push forward the work of introducing private investment into sectors that are dominated by State-owned enterprises.

Xu said for 2014, the central government's on-budget investment target will be adjusted. Investment in corporate projects in competitive sectors will be slashed. For profitable infrastructure projects that could attract private investment, government investment in them should be reduced. Expenditures on government office buildings will be prohibited, while small and insignificant investment should give way to strategic and fundamental projects.

He added on-budget investment for next year will be higher than 2013's, which stood at 437.6 billion yuan ($72.1 billion).

Xinhua contributed to this story.