Confidence, certainty and potential behind China's 2024 growth target
  ·  2024-03-13  ·   Source: Xinhua News Agency

An aerial drone photo taken on February 2 shows a container vessel berthing at the smart zero-carbon terminal of Tianjin Port in north China's Tianjin (XINHUA)

China has targeted its economic growth at around 5 percent for 2024, a goal that officials and experts believe is well within reach considering the country's sound economic fundamentals and supportive macroeconomic policy mix.

The projected goal, announced in the government work report, remains unchanged from the previous year's growth target.

It's an achievable goal via enhanced efforts, said Zheng Shanjie, director of the National Development and Reform Commission, the country's top economic planner.

"China has the confidence, capabilities and conditions to meet the economic and social development targets for this year," Zheng told a press conference during the annual sessions of China's national legislature and political advisory body, or the "two sessions."

According to him, the favorable conditions for China's economic development outweigh the unfavorable factors in 2024, and the upward trend in economic recovery will further be consolidated and strengthened.

The growth target of around 5 percent was set after the Chinese economy showed solidity and resilience in 2023 by recording year-on-year growth of 5.2 percent.

In the first two months of this year, the country's foreign trade in goods maintained the upward momentum of the fourth quarter of last year, with the imports and exports volume reaching a historical high of 6.61 trillion yuan (about $931.47 billion).

Other indicators also pointed to a recovery gathering momentum. The outstanding yuan-denominated loans expanded by 4.92 trillion yuan in January, a monthly record high, a sign viewed by analysts as policymakers' stepping up efforts to support the economy.

In the government work report, the country vowed to continue to implement a proactive fiscal policy and a prudent monetary policy in 2024. An array of measures to boost growth this year have also been disclosed, including 3.9 trillion yuan of special-purpose bonds for local governments and the issuing of ultra-long special treasury bonds.

Pan Gongsheng, governor of the People's Bank of China, the central bank, reassured that the country has a rich monetary toolbox and there is still ample policy headroom.

The average reserve requirement ratio (RRR) of China's entire banking sector is 7 percent and there is still room for further RRR cuts, Pan said.

Tian Xuan, vice dean with Tsinghua University's PBC School of Finance, said the projected growth rate is in line with the availability of policy tools and the sustainability of economic development, leaving ample room for promoting the shift of growth drivers and coping with external uncertainties.

Looking forward, the nation's economic landscape is teeming with great potential, as new growth drivers propel the country's longer-term development.

China's exports of the tech-intensive green trio -- lithium-ion batteries, photovoltaic products, and NEVs -- amounted to 1.06 trillion yuan last year, marking a year-on-year robust increase of 29.9 percent.

"New quality productive forces," a catchphrase in China's policymaking, is expected to inject fresh hope and impetus in economic growth.

According to Ning Jizhe, former chief of the National Bureau of Statistics, the pursuit of new quality productive forces will create significant investment demand amid the digitization, intelligence, and greening of infrastructure.

With focus on the prospect for future growth, China aims to foster advanced productivity through revolutionary technology breakthroughs, innovative allocation of production factors and deepened industrial upgrading.

In the eyes of Zhao Minge, chairman of metal company Shougang Group, the development of new quality productive forces will bring new opportunities to traditional enterprises. "For the next step, our company will promote the upgrade of traditional industries in a coordinated way and achieve the growth driver transformation by boosting innovation," Zhao said.

"Generally speaking, China has sufficient space for technological innovation, industrial upgrading, and productivity improvement," said Justin Yifu Lin, dean of the Institute of New Structural Economics at Peking University.

In light of substantial residents' savings, abundant investment resources, as well as the government's strong willingness to develop the economy, he said a full-year growth target of 5 percent is entirely attainable, considering the country's potential to reach 8 percent growth.

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