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Officials: 2023 GDP goal well within reach

By OUYANG SHIJIA China Daily Updated: 2023-12-20
The financial district of Pudong New Area. [Photo by Gao Erqiang/China Daily]

5 percent expansion possible in 2024 as well, as nation has required growth drivers
China is confident and capable of reaching this year's GDP growth target of around 5 percent, and policymakers have ample tools to stabilize the economy next year, officials and experts said on Tuesday.

Experts estimated China's economy will likely expand by around 5 percent next year as well, given strong policy support and gradual recovery of domestic demand.

Policymakers need to take both short- and long-term measures to boost growth, stimulate market vitality and foster new growth drivers, they said.

"The country has the conditions and capabilities to meet its economic and social development objectives for 2023 … as China's economic recovery continues to gather steam and a series of policies take effect gradually," said Li Chao, a spokeswoman for the National Development and Reform Commission, China's top economic regulator.

In the next step, the NDRC will closely monitor changes in economic operations, strengthen situation analysis and policy research, and intensify macroeconomic regulation. Primary focus will be placed on the forthcoming year's key growth targets, she told a news conference in Beijing on Tuesday.

Li highlighted the commission's commitment to reinforcing policy reserves and ensuring a robust arsenal of policy tools to effectively respond to diverse risks and challenges that may arise.

According to the commission, China has unveiled the first batch of nearly 2,900 projects, using funds raised through the additional 1 trillion yuan ($140 billion) worth of sovereign bonds, which were announced in October for issue in the fourth quarter. The projects are mainly in fields like post-disaster recovery reconstruction, improvements to disaster prevention and reduction capability, and construction of high-standard farmland.

During the National Development and Reform Work Conference held from Sunday to Monday, the NDRC said it will formulate targeted measures to bolster the economy, and more efforts will be made to further boost the development of the private sector and encourage its participation in key national-level engineering projects and other projects aimed at addressing the weak links in the economy.

Amid China's push to seek private investment in thousands of local government projects through a national unified platform this year, the private sector has participated in 1,490 such projects worth 1.9 trillion yuan in all, NDRC data showed.

According to the conference, the commission will continue to carry out midterm evaluation of the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25), and has begun its preliminary work on the 15th Five-Year Plan (2026-30).

Wang Yiming, vice-chairman of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, said most institutions forecast China's GDP will rise by around 5.2 percent this year, significantly higher than that of major economies, including the United States, the eurozone and Japan.

"China remains the most powerful engine for global growth, contributing over 30 percent of global economic growth," Wang said on Tuesday at a seminar of the China Macroeconomy Forum, or CMF, a think tank of the Renmin University of China.

Looking ahead, he said China still has plenty of room to step up fiscal and monetary policy support next year, as the central government's debt level is not high and consumer price levels are low.

Wang said he still sees many new growth opportunities in fields like green transition and new urbanization, adding China has the conditions to achieve 5 percent GDP growth next year as well.

Liu Xiaoguang, a professor at the Renmin University of China's National Academy of Development and Strategy, said the CMF has revised upward its 2024 China GDP forecast to 5 percent from 4.8 percent, and it is advisable for the country to set next year's growth target at 5 percent at least.