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China lowers economic growth goal

March 5, 2022

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said the country's external environment is becoming "volatile, grave and uncertain." China's economy has suffered amid anti-COVID-19 measures and a crackdown on real estate debt.

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China has cut its annual growth target to its lowest level in decadesImage: Nicolas Asfouri/AFP

China cut its annual growth target on Saturday amid an economic slump.

The new target has been set at its lowest level in decades.

Premier Li Keqiang speaks at the National People's Congress, Beijing
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang presented a report on the country's economic objectives at the National People's CongressImage: Sam McNeil/AP/picture alliance

How much growth is China aiming for?

China will aim for growth of "around 5.5%" this year, Premier Li Keqiang said in a report to the country's legislature.

"Achieving this goal will require arduous efforts," Li said in the report.

Last year, China aimed for economic growth of 8.1%.

In December, President Xi Jinping's government announced a "policy pivot" toward shoring up growth in the country. This moved China away from long-term initiatives to cut debt and carbon emissions, as well as nurturing growth based on consumer spending rather than trade and investment.

As a way to stimulate growth, the Chinese government has promised tax cuts for entrepreneurs and told banks to increase lending.

The government is also injecting money into the economy by increasing spending on public works.

A woman looks at her phone as she walks past the China Evergrande Center in Hong Kong
Chinese real-estate giant Evergrande has been involved in a debt crisisImage: Miguel Candela Poblacion/AA/picture alliance

What is the state of the Chinese economy?

Li's report said commodity prices "remain high and prone to fluctuation," adding that China's external environment is becoming "increasingly volatile, grave and uncertain."

China's economy is under pressure from weak global demand for the country's exports.

Strict "zero-COVID" measures, including lockdowns and closed borders, have stymied growth from manufacturing hubs, tourist centers and port cities.

Chinese economic growth dropped to 4% in the final quarter of 2021 after a crackdown on debt in China's real estate industry. The crackdown led to a slump in construction and housing sales.

China's second-largest real estate developer, Evergrande, has been under pressure since last year as it has not been able to pay back its liabilities. In January, Evergrande suspended the trading of its shares on the Hong Kong exchange.

sdi/sms (AP, AFP)

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