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China lowers GDP growth target to 7% amid slowdown

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Beijing: China on Thursday lowered its economic growth rate target to about seven per cent for this year after it registered 7.4 per cent GDP, the lowest in 24 years, as the world’s second largest economy continued to slowdown weighed down by dropping exports.

China targeted economic growth of approximately 7 per cent in 2015, lower than the goal of around 7.5 per cent in 2014, according to a government work report to be delivered by Premier Li Keqiang at China’s national legislature the National People’s Congress which began its 10 day annual session today.

The growth target for 2015 is also lower than the 7.4 per cent economic growth rate registered in 2014, its weakest annual expansion since 1990.

In the 35 years between 1978 and 2013, annual growth of the Chinese economy averaged close to 10 per cent. However, the ‘good old days’ had to end, with growth decelerating to 7.7 per cent in 2012 and 2013.

“Over the past year, the international and domestic environments faced by China in its development have been complicated and challenging. The road to global economic recovery has been rough, with many ups and downs, and the performance of the major economies has been divergent,” Li said in his report.

The shrinking Chinese economy can still maintain medium-to -high speed of growth and achieve medium-to-high level of development, Li said in his report, adding China needs to rely on both the traditional and new engines for growth.

“Downward pressure on China’s economy has continued to mount and we have faced an array of interwoven difficulties and challenges,” he said.

The target growth rate of approximately 7 per cent takes into consideration what is needed and what is possible.

“This target is both aligned with our goal of finishing building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and is appropriate in terms of the need to grow and upgrade our economy, he said.
“If China’s economy can grow at this rate for a relatively long time, we will secure a more solid material foundation for modernisation,” premier Li added.
AFP

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