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China to set detailed economic targets for 2021-2025 - state planner

·2-min read
FILE PHOTO: Ning Jizhe, Vice Chairman of China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), speaks at the 2019 New Economy Forum in Beijing
FILE PHOTO: Ning Jizhe, Vice Chairman of China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), speaks at the 2019 New Economy Forum in Beijing

BEIJING (Reuters) - China will set detailed economic targets for the 2021-2025 to help promote higher quality growth, following a meeting of top Chinese leaders, the vice head of the country's state planner said on Friday.

Ning Jizhe, vice head of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), told a news conference the state planner will "put forward corresponding quantitative targets and specific indicators" for the 14th five-year plan (2021-2025), in line with leaders' recommendations.

The government dropped its annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth target in 2020 for the first time since 2002 because of the uncertainty caused by COVID-19, but it still set targets for employment, inflation and the fiscal deficit.

China aims for sustained and healthy economic development in the next five years, with an emphasis on higher quality growth, the ruling Communist Party's Central Committee said in a communique published on Thursday, after a conclave.

The communique did not give a specific percentage growth target for the world's second-largest economy. Targets are expected to be announced when the five-year plan is approved at the annual parliament meeting in early 2021.

Government think tanks and economists had made recommendations for average annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth targets including around 5%, 5-5.5% to 5-6%, policy sources have said.

The communique did say China plans to boost its GDP per capita to a level on par with moderate developed countries by 2035. Analysts at OCBC said that implies China will need to grow by an average 3-4% per year over the next 15 years.

China also will seek to keep residents' income growth in line with economic growth over the 2021-2025 period, and will boost the incomes of low-income groups and expand middle class, Ning said, adding that it aims to let consumption play a basic role in supporting economic growth.

At the same conference, Han Wenxiu, a senior Communist Party official, said China will expand market access for foreign investors, and a complete decoupling between China and the United States is unrealistic.

(Reporting by Kevin Yao; Writing by Gabriel Crossley; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Kim Coghill)