Chinese authorities are ready for challenges

Today, the 5th session of the National People's Congress (NPC) of the 12th convocation kicked off in Beijing. "The Chinese authorities are ready for the challenges that may arise in the field of China's foreign policy after the changes in the US diplomacy, defined by the administration of the new American President Donald Trump,’’  the spokesman of the NPC, Fu Ying said.

China's leaders are expected to telegraph their willingness at this year's annual parliament meeting to let reforms overtake policy stimulus as their priority amid concerns over financial instability in the world's second-largest economy. Pro-growth policies, evident by a lending binge and increased government spending last year, have fueled worries among policymakers about high debt levels and an overheating housing market. Top leaders at the National People's Congress, which opens on Sunday, are expected to tolerate slightly slower economic growth this year, giving them more room to push through some painful reforms to deal with a rapid build-up in debt. On the opening day, Premier Li Keqiang will announce key economic targets in his state-of-the-nation style address. China's 2017 growth target is expected to be lowered to around 6.5 percent from last year's 6.5-7 percent. The government will push factory capacity cuts, make it easier for private firms to invest in infrastructure projects, and further open up the services sector to foreign investors to help counter capital outflows, policy insiders said. "Structural adjustments and supply-side reforms will be the main focus in 2017," said a Chinese policy adviser, who declined to be identified ahead of Li's speech. "If we continue to inject money and make loans to inefficient and zombie firms, their (debt) burdens will increase further."

A less ambitious growth target this year could take some heat off the central bank, which has adopted a modest tightening bias to cool explosive growth in debt, though it is treading cautiously to avoid hurting economic growth. Top leaders have pledged to shift the emphasis to addressing financial risks and asset bubbles. Still, they have pledged to keep the economy stable ahead of the 19th Communist Party Congress, expected to be in the autumn, to ensure a smooth leadership transition. "I'm more worried about the economy over the long term if near-term growth is faster, because growth still relies on heavy industries and the property sector," said Zhang Yiping, an economist at Merchants Securities.

China's debt problems have worsened since the depths of the global financial crisis in 2008-09, when Beijing's 4 trillion yuan ($582 billion) stimulus package boosted the economy but saddled local governments with piles of debt. Analysts at investment bank UBS said China's ratio of debt to gross domestic product could exceed 300 percent within two years, up from an estimated 277 percent in 2016 and 254 percent in 2015. UBS estimated that government debt, including explicit and quasi-government debt, rose to 68 percent of GDP in 2016 from 62 percent in 2015, while corporate debt climbed to 164 percent of GDP in 2016 from 153 percent the previous year.

Top leaders have pledged "decisive results" by 2020 on a wide range of market-based reforms, but they still need growth of at least 6.5 percent between 2016 and 2020 to hit a long-held goal to double GDP and per capita income by 2020 from 2010 levels.The economy grew 6.7 percent in 2016, and recent data has painted a picture of steadying expansion, but fears over a trade row with the United States linger amid a drumbeat of protectionist rhetoric from the Trump administration. Trump has frequently accused China of keeping its currency artificially low against the dollar to make Chinese exports cheaper, "stealing" American manufacturing jobs. "External risks are rising. There have been many black swans internationally, which could have an impact on China," said a second policy adviser.

1785 views


More World news

US Senate confirms Trump nominee David Friedman to be US ambassador to Israel

US Senate confirms Trump nominee David Friedman to be US ambassador to Israel

The US Senate has confirmed on Thursday President Donald Trump’s nominee David Friedman to be the next US ambassador to Israel. Senators approved the nomination of Friedman in a 52- 46 …

Russia#039s Channel One refuses to broadcast Samoilova#039s performance via satellite

Russia's Channel One refuses to broadcast Samoilova's performance via satellite

Channel One Russia has turned down a proposal by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) to transmit performance of the Russian entry to the Eurovision 2017 song contest, Yuliya Samoilova via satellite from Moscow, said a statement …

Russia, Kyrgyzstan to expand military-technical cooperation

Russia, Kyrgyzstan to expand military-technical cooperation

Today, Vladimir Kozhin, Russian President's aide on military-technical cooperation issues, said that Russia and Kyrgyzstan are going to sign an agreement on the development of military-technical cooperation within the …

Turkey warns Russia following sniper fire from Syria

Turkey warns Russia following sniper fire from Syria

A senior Turkish official says his country has warned Russia that Ankara will retaliate against any new cross-border attack on Turkish troops from Syrian Kurdish-held areas in Syria, Fox News reported. Foreign Ministry Spokesman …

London police reveal identity of Westminster attacker

London police reveal identity of Westminster attacker

London Metropolitan Police said that the name of the Westminster attacker is Khalid Masood. "The man police believe to be responsible for the terrorist attack in Westminster yesterday, Wednesday, 22 …

Erdogan calls UK#039s PM May to offer condolences for London attack victims

Erdogan calls UK's PM May to offer condolences for London attack victims

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called UK's Prime Minister Theresa May Thursday to express condolences over the London terror attack and stressed that the two countries are partners in the fight …

European Broadcasting Union invites Samoilova to sing live from Russia

European Broadcasting Union invites Samoilova to sing live from Russia

The European Broadcasting Union has invited Russia’s national television broadcaster Chanel 1 to arrange for a live video link-up with the Eurovision 2017 contest in Kiev to let Russia’s participant, wheelchair-bound Yulia …

Baku sets the first record of Islamic Games

Baku sets the first record of Islamic Games

Today Baku hosted event to celebrate 50 days before the beginning of the 4th Islamic Games in the capital of Azerbaijan. In an interview with Vestnik Kavkaza, Elchin Safarov, corporate director of the Islamic Games in Baku, …

Kvirikashvili condemns terror attack in London

Kvirikashvili condemns terror attack in London

World leaders have condemned late Wednesday’s terrorist attack in London, which left five people dead and at least 40 injured. Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili said that Georgia and Georgians will always stand …

Russian politician#039s killer dies in hospital

Russian politician's killer dies in hospital

The killer of former Russian State Duma member Denis Voronenkov has died of wounds in a Kiev hospital, Public Television has said, TASS reports. Denis Voronenkov was shot and killed at the entrance to Premier-Palace …

more World news