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China Sets Low Bar for GDP Growth, Pledges more Jobs

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China on Friday set a modest annual economic growth target, at above 6, and pledged to create more jobs in cities than last year, as the worlds secondbiggest economy planned a careful course out of a year disrupted by COVID19.

In 2020, China dropped a gross domestic product growth target from the premiers work report for the first time since 2002 after the pandemic devastated its economy. Chinas GDP expanded 2.3 last year, the weakest in 44 years but making it the only major economy to report growth.

As a general target, Chinas growth rate has been set at over 6 for this year, Premier Li Keqiang said in his 2021 work report. In setting this target, we have taken into account the recovery of economic activity.

But the 2021 target was significantly below the consensus of analysts, who expect growth could beat 8 this year. Chinese shares fell.

Chinas conservative growth target reflects a public effort to demonstrate a return to economic stability after last years COVID19 upheaval, policy advisers said, while also keeping a lid on appetite for debt and risk.

Its obvious this years growth will be over 6. The purpose is to tell people that we should focus on higher quality growth, Yao Jingyuan, an adviser to Chinas cabinet, told Reuters.

While the low GDP target does not mean the government will rush to tighten policy, with many parts of the economy still struggling, it will give planners more room to push reforms.

Premier Li pledged to spur domestic consumption and…

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