China says it will keep 2016 economic growth in ‘reasonable’ range

China says it will keep 2016 economic growth in ‘reasonable’ range

BEIJING - Reuters
China says it will keep 2016 economic growth in ‘reasonable’ range

A labourer works atop a construction site of a commercial building as residential complexes are pictured in the background, in Kunming, Yunnan province, China, December 12, 2015. REUTERS Photo

Chinese leaders, meeting ahead of an agenda-setting conference, pledged on Dec. 14 to keep the country’s economic growth in a “reasonable range” in 2016 by expanding domestic demand and making supply-side improvements. 

The pledge was reported by the official Xinhua news agency, which said the Politburo, a top decision-making body of the ruling Communist Party that President Xi Jinping chairs, convened on Dec. 14. 

No numbers were reported for what leaders see as “reasonable,” but the meeting signals that the annual Central Economic Conference - at which policymakers are expected map out 2016 economic and reform plans and targets - should open soon. 

In 2014, there was a Politburo meeting on Dec. 5, and the pivotal economic conference was held Dec. 9-11. 

“While appropriately expanding aggregate demand, more efforts will be made to improve the quality of efficiency of the supply system,” Xinhua said. 

Premier Li Keqiang recently pledged to step up “supply-side” reforms to generate new growth engines in the economy while tackling factory overcapacity and so-called zombie firms. 

Xinhua said that the government will take more steps next year to help companies lower costs, tackle property inventories and ward off financial risks. 

The government will promote mergers and acquisitions next year, as well as let strong firms survive and weak ones close under the principle of “survival of the fittest”, Xinhua said. 

Beijing has been struggling to reach its economic growth target of around 7 percent this year, despite a raft of policy easing steps in recent months. 

President Xi has said that China must achieve annual average growth of no less than 6.5 percent over the next five years to hit the country’s goal of doubling gross domestic product and per capita income by 2020 from 2010.