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Planner rules out hard landing

By LU HAOTING and GAO YUAN (China Daily)

Updated: 2016-03-07 02:33:46


Planner rules out hard landing

Xu Shaoshi, head of the National Development and Reform Commission, greets the media at a news briefing on Sunday. Feng Yongbin / China Daily

The Chinese economy is not heading for a hard landing and the country is confident of achieving a reasonable growth rate, the top economic planner said on Sunday.

"Predictions of a hard landing are destined to come to nothing. ... Rest assured, this possibility does not exist," Xu Shaoshi, head of the National Development and Reform Commission, said at a news conference.

"We are confident and capable of keeping the economic growth rate within a reasonable range," Xu said.

He also gave an assurance that China would continue to contribute to global growth, rather than "dragging down the world economy".

The nation has set an economic growth target this year of between 6.5 and 7 percent. It is the first time in more than two decades that the government has set a range, rather than a specific rate, as a target.

Last year, the Chinese economy grew by 6.9 percent — its slowest expansion for a quarter of a century — amid a fragile global recovery and domestic structural adjustments.

"The government has plenty of ammunition to resist downward pressure, and we are also constantly replenishing the policy toolbox," Xu said, while acknowledging that tough challenges lie ahead, including uncertainty and instability in the global economy.

Stimulating consumption will continue to be the top priority, as consumption has expanded rapidly, Xu said. Last year, consumption far outweighed investment, contributing 66.4 percent to Chinese economic growth. Retail sales of consumer goods are expected to increase by about 11 percent this year, up from 10.7 percent last year.

The government will also boost effective investment. A reserve pool for key projects has been set up to guide investment in the next three years, Xu said.

Groups of projects can be approved, launched and completed in succession and this continuous process will help to maintain a beneficial cycle of investment, Xu said.

"Effective investment should meet the requirement of 'killing three birds with one stone'," Xu said, adding that the investment should help to strengthen points of weakness, accelerate structural reform and foster new growth engines.

Central government budgetary investment will be increased to 500 billion yuan ($76.7 billion) this year, up from 477.6 billion yuan last year, the commission said. The investment will focus on projects in affordable housing, railways, technology innovation, environmental protection, education and poverty relief.

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