China's focus on annual GDP targets gives greater policy flexibility
China refrained from setting an economic growth target in its most recent five-year plan to account for greater uncertainties and give policymakers room to respond to changes more flexibly, a senior state planner official said on Monday, Trend reports with reference to Reuters.
In its 2021-2025 economic plan delivered to the nation’s legislature on Friday, China did not include any average annual growth targets, pledging to keep growth in a “reasonable” range”, unlike a previous five-year plan issued in 2016.
It did, however, set an annual gross domestic product target of above 6% for the current year, having dropped the 2020 target last year amid global uncertainties caused by the pandemic.
Hu Zucai, vice director of the National Development and Reform Commission, said on Monday China will set annual growth goals throughout the five year period contingent on the circumstances, as predicting growth for the year period would be easier.
The world’s second-biggest economy expanded 2.3% last year, the only major economy to report growth, although the growth was its weakest in 44 years, dragger lower by still weak consumption and soft investment demand.
China is confident of achieving its 2021 economic targets, Ning Jizhe, another NDRC vice head told the same briefing, adding that the economy in January-February period continued the steady recovery trend since the second quarter last year when China started to lift COVID-related lockdowns.
The economy is widely expected by economists to grow more than 8% in 2021.