China will aim for an economic expansion of “around 5%” for 2023, its lowest target for more than three decades, as President Xi Jinping seeks to restore pre-pandemic levels of growth.
Announcing the target, which was below last year’s goal of 5.5%, China’s outgoing premier Li Keqiang told the National People’s Congress that the aim this year was to “prioritise economic stability”. If achieved, the target would represent a recovery from growth of just 3% in 2022 after numerous Chinese cities suffered extended lockdowns.
China’s official economic growth targets have been trending lower over the past decade as policymakers have tried to rein in the country’s growing debt burden and stimulate more domestic consumption. This year’s conservative growth target would be easier for Xi’s new economic team to meet, after failing to achieve its goal last year.
Most analysts think this year’s target is not challenging, given the rebound already underway. But it probably does signify that the days of 8, 9, or 10% growth that the economy experienced over past decades will remain in the past – not surprising now that the economy is so large at around USD18 trillion.
Various other economic targets have been set, including the budget deficit this year (3% of GDP), urban job creation (12 million), and the unemployment rate (5.5%). China also needed to “expand market access” for foreign investors, prop up consumption, and control risk in the real estate sector.
Source: World Bank
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