China ready to unveil 2022 GDP target

Workers weld at a workshop of an automaker in Qingzhou, east China’s Shandong Province, March 1, 2022.

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BEIJING — China is set to release its gross domestic product growth target for 2022 on Saturday as an annual parliamentary meeting gets underway.

Analysts generally expect the GDP target to be set at around 5% or slightly higher. They are also looking for details on stimulus packages for an economy that has slowed significantly.

The figure is expected to be released Saturday morning local time or Friday evening ET.

China’s economic growth slowed in the fourth quarter to a 4% year-on-year increase, despite growing 8.1% for the year as a whole.

The country was the only major economy to grow in 2020, while the rest of the world struggled with the coronavirus pandemic.

But sluggish consumer spending has yet to fully recover from the pandemic, and the fallout from Beijing’s regulatory crackdown on tech and real estate has weighed on growth. China’s strict “zero-Covid” policy, with abrupt shutdowns and travel restrictions, has also weighed on the economy.

Over the past two weeks, heads of government departments have discussed plans for increased economic support, particularly for small businesses and consumers.

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The “two sessions” are an annual meeting of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, an advisory body, and the National People’s Congress legislature in Beijing.

Although largely symbolic, the meetings draw delegates from across the country to approve and announce national economic policies for the coming year. These include targets for GDP growth, employment, inflation, deficit and government spending.

This year, the two sessions will last about a week, with the debates due to end on March 11.

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