Sat, Jan 12, 2019 - Page 10 News List

Beijing to set 6 to 6.5 percent growth target for this year


China plans to set a target range for economic growth of 6 to 6.5 percent for this year, Reuters reported, citing unnamed officials.

That compares with last year’s target of “about 6.5 percent,” signaling that policymakers are embedding the ongoing economic slowdown into their goals for the year.

The government is also widening the targeted budget deficit for the year, to 2.8 percent of GDP, Bloomberg reported this week.

Incoming data signal that the moderation in the world’s second-largest economy is deepening in the first quarter, with a report this week raising the risk of factory-price deflation.

While conducting negotiations with the US over the ongoing trade dispute, the Chinese government has rolled out a series of policies to boost output, without resorting to broad or large-scale stimulus.

While a target band signals a greater amount of uncertainty over the economic outlook than in the past, if confirmed the level is in line with economist expectations.

The consensus among forecasters surveyed by Bloomberg is for the Chinese economy to expand by 6.2 percent this year before 6 percent next year.

Separately, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He (劉鶴) is set to visit Washington on Jan. 30 and Jan. 31 for further trade talks, people familiar with the plans said, signaling progress in efforts to tamp down the dispute.

Liu is to meet with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin, said the people, who declined to be named because the details had not been made public.

The visit’s timing could still change, one of the people said.

The Wall Street Journal reported the dates earlier.

Mnuchin had flagged the trip to reporters on Thursday in Washington, saying that “the current intent” is for Liu to visit later in the month and that he does not expect the partial government shutdown to interfere with those plans.

Negotiators from both the US and China expressed optimism after mid-level talks wrapped up in Beijing this week, bolstering sentiment across global markets.

Liu made a surprise appearance at the first day of those talks.

However, neither side has given any detail as to what was agreed at the meetings.

There are about seven weeks before the US-imposed deadline for a deal, after which US President Donald Trump could order a resumption of tariff hikes.

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