China sets 2018 GDP growth target at around 6.5 pct
A Chinese flag flies near apartment buildings in Beijing on September 11, 2015. Photo: AFP
China aims to expand its economy by around 6.5 percent this year, the same as in 2017, Premier Li Keqiang said in remarks prepared for delivery at the opening of the annual meeting of parliament on Monday.
The goal was kept unchanged even though the economy grew 6.9 percent last year, exceeding the government's target.
Given China's economic fundamentals and capacity for job creation, GDP growth of around 6.5 percent will enable China to achieve relatively full employment, according to a government report to be delivered on Monday morning at the first session of the 13th National People's Congress, China's top legislature.
China also set its consumer price index at "around 3 percent" compared with 3 percent last year.
But it trimmed its budget deficit target to 2.6 percent of gross domestic product from 3 percent in 2017.
Li also said he expects reasonable growth in broad M2 money supply and total social financing (TSF) this year, without stating a target. Targets set for 2017 were for both TSF and M2 to grow by about 12.0 percent.
The targets take into consideration the need to secure a decisive victory in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, and are fitting given the fact that China's economy is transitioning from a phase of rapid growth to a stage of high-quality development, the report said.
The NPC, which will end on March 20, is expected to approve the restructuring of various government departments and the appointment of several key officials including a vice president, vice premiers and a new central bank governor.
In a government work report, Li also said that China opposes protectionism and supports the settlement of trade disputes through negotiation, but will "resolutely safeguard" its legitimate rights and interest.

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