Chinese leaders have vowed to meet the economic targets the government has set for this year, promising to step up policy support for an economy that has been struggling with Covid-19 outbreaks at home.
China’s top policy-making body, the Politburo, said in a meeting Friday that the government should roll out incremental policies aimed at supporting the economy and work to expand consumption and make effective investments to support growth.
Beijing in March set this year’s annual economic growth target at around 5.5%, but economists say that looks increasingly difficult after China locked down major cities like Shanghai to contain the Covid-19 Omicron variant.
The economy grew 4.8% from a year earlier in the first quarter, well below the official target, and growth has cooled quickly in the second quarter in the wake of the lockdowns.
The Politburo said the Covid-19 outbreaks and Ukraine crisis have increased the risks and challenges facing the economy, the state broadcaster reported, citing the meeting chaired by Chinese President Xi Jinping.
It also urged government agencies to deploy policies for Covid-hit industries and small businesses, as well as to stabilize consumer prices and ensure the spring planting of crops that is crucial for China’s food security.
Officials at the meeting also promised to secure employment while ensuring that city residents have enough daily necessities and that the cities continue to operate as normal.
The top decision-making body also pledged to protect the smooth running of domestic logistics, key supply chains and the operations of companies crucial to China’s battle against Covid-19.
It also reiterated its stance that homes are for living in, not for speculation, but said it would support reasonable home demand.
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