3:31 am, Wednesday, 22 May 2024

China hails ‘favourable’ economic conditions despite trade woes

China’s top economic policymakers expressed confidence Wednesday that the country could achieve a strong recovery this year, despite persistent headwinds that continue to hinder growth.

Thousands of delegates are convening this week in Beijing for the ‘Two Sessions’ — the annual meetings of China’s parliament and a political consultative body — to discuss official strategy for the year ahead.

During a press event on Wednesday on the sidelines of the major gathering, China’s economic planning chief Zheng Shanjie said ‘favourable conditions for China’s economic development will outweigh unfavourable factors’ in 2024.

‘The trend of economic recovery will be further consolidated and strengthened,’ Zheng said at the media conference, which saw the rare assembly of five powerful officials overseeing the economy.

This year’s edition of the Two Sessions is being closely watched for signs of further state support to help the world’s second-largest economy, which is currently ailing from a range of issues including a protracted crisis in the property market, flagging exports and high youth unemployment.

But Zheng, head of the National Development and Reform Commission, admitted that 2024 would also see challenges, including ‘hidden risks’ and a ‘complex and severe’ external environment.

Commerce minister Wang Wentao elaborated on such challenges at the media conference, predicting continued ‘downward pressure’ on global growth.

Chinese exports, historically a key growth driver, fell last year for the first time since 2016, reflecting how tensions with the United States and a stuttering global economic recovery are compounding Beijing’s struggles to kickstart growth at home.

Wang said Wednesday that, despite a resurgence in Chinese exports in the first two months of this year, March would likely see a decline.

‘But, the overall trend is upward,’ added Wang.

Beijing’s leadership on Tuesday laid out an objective of ‘around five per cent’ GDP growth this year — a dream of many developed Western nations but for China a far cry from the breakneck expansion that powered its rise.

It is also identical to last year’s gross domestic product target — one of China’s lowest in decades even as the economy was buoyed by the country’s emergence from strict Covid rules that had stifled progress.

But officials have been upfront that they believe hitting five per cent growth won’t be easy, as stubborn economic headwinds persist.

Beijing announced that premier Li Qiang would not be holding a press conference at the end of this year’s meeting, breaking a decades-long tradition and deepening the sense of China as an information black hole.

However, China’s foreign minister Wang Yi will face questions from the media on Thursday morning.

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China hails ‘favourable’ economic conditions despite trade woes

Update Time : 12:21:34 pm, Wednesday, 6 March 2024

China’s top economic policymakers expressed confidence Wednesday that the country could achieve a strong recovery this year, despite persistent headwinds that continue to hinder growth.

Thousands of delegates are convening this week in Beijing for the ‘Two Sessions’ — the annual meetings of China’s parliament and a political consultative body — to discuss official strategy for the year ahead.

During a press event on Wednesday on the sidelines of the major gathering, China’s economic planning chief Zheng Shanjie said ‘favourable conditions for China’s economic development will outweigh unfavourable factors’ in 2024.

‘The trend of economic recovery will be further consolidated and strengthened,’ Zheng said at the media conference, which saw the rare assembly of five powerful officials overseeing the economy.

This year’s edition of the Two Sessions is being closely watched for signs of further state support to help the world’s second-largest economy, which is currently ailing from a range of issues including a protracted crisis in the property market, flagging exports and high youth unemployment.

But Zheng, head of the National Development and Reform Commission, admitted that 2024 would also see challenges, including ‘hidden risks’ and a ‘complex and severe’ external environment.

Commerce minister Wang Wentao elaborated on such challenges at the media conference, predicting continued ‘downward pressure’ on global growth.

Chinese exports, historically a key growth driver, fell last year for the first time since 2016, reflecting how tensions with the United States and a stuttering global economic recovery are compounding Beijing’s struggles to kickstart growth at home.

Wang said Wednesday that, despite a resurgence in Chinese exports in the first two months of this year, March would likely see a decline.

‘But, the overall trend is upward,’ added Wang.

Beijing’s leadership on Tuesday laid out an objective of ‘around five per cent’ GDP growth this year — a dream of many developed Western nations but for China a far cry from the breakneck expansion that powered its rise.

It is also identical to last year’s gross domestic product target — one of China’s lowest in decades even as the economy was buoyed by the country’s emergence from strict Covid rules that had stifled progress.

But officials have been upfront that they believe hitting five per cent growth won’t be easy, as stubborn economic headwinds persist.

Beijing announced that premier Li Qiang would not be holding a press conference at the end of this year’s meeting, breaking a decades-long tradition and deepening the sense of China as an information black hole.

However, China’s foreign minister Wang Yi will face questions from the media on Thursday morning.