Li: Jobs, stability to be priority

By HU YONGQI | China Daily | Updated: 2016-11-16 04:35

Li: Jobs, stability to be priority

College graduates at a job fair in Nanjing, capital of East China's Jiangsu province, June 5, 2016 [Photo/VCG]

Economy releasing new power to support growth amid global uncertainty, premier says

Stability, especially of the job market, is the economic priority of the Chinese government amid uncertainties overseas, Premier Li Keqiang said during a meeting to solicit ideas on improving economic development and public livelihood.

Li said the priority would be emphasized through the remainder of the year and the beginning of the next, according to a statement released on Tuesday.

Li called for steady growth and acceleration in reform during what was the first high-level meeting on the economic situation after the US presidential election. The seminar, held Monday in Beijing, was attended by academics, researchers and other experts, as well as business executives.

Though faced with rising complexities around the world, China's transition from its old to a new development model is releasing new power to help maintain its economic balance and growth, Li said.

Starting now and into next year, the government's priority is to give strong support to the people's employment and livelihood, he emphasized.

Li said prudent monetary policy and proactive fiscal policy will be carried out next year to supply reasonably adequate liquidity and boost investment.

He said there will be stronger measures to boost the real economy and innovation, given rising uncertainty in the global economy and discrepancies among different regions and industries in domestic growth.

He noted the recent shopping extravaganza on Nov 11, Singles Day — when Chinese buyers made online purchases of more than 100 billion yuan ($14.66 billion) in a single day — as a good example of vitality in the real economy.

This year has seen Britain voting to exit the European Union, and next year likely will bring new and unforeseeable policies enacted by US President-elect Donald Trump. Both are regarded by economists as possible sources of pressure on China's exports and economy.

Trump's victory, especially, has provoked questions, as reflected in turmoil in commodities futures market over the weekend, said Huang Qunhui, director of the Institute of Industrial Economics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. It is important for China to maintain the stability of its economy to ensure employment and social welfare, he said.

Meanwhile, the US Federal Reserve likely will move again to raise interest rates, which will place pressure on emerging economies including China. The renminbi also fell to a six-year record low against the US dollar last week.

Guo Tianyong, a finance researcher at the Central University of Finance and Economics, said Trump will probably loosen regulations on US banks, which could accelerate the appreciation of the dollar. But China's economy is stabilizing, providing the basis for the renminbi to maintain stability in the middle and long term, Guo said.

At the meeting, Li listened to suggestions made by representatives of banks, universities, manufacturers and hospitals, who spoke of the current situation and prospects in their own fields. They indicated that China's economy is stabilizing, with many indicators better than expected, providing a basis for confidence.

For decades, China's economy has been driven by investment, exports and consumption. Exports are declining and private investment is growing more slowly.

The central government should maintain the continuity of current macroeconomic policies, particularly monetary and fiscal policies, to cultivate growth within a reasonable range, Guo said.

The premier also called on governmental departments to closely track changing situations to stabilize economic growth, deepen reforms, boost restructuring and prevent risks, which will improve housing, medical care and other social welfare indicators.

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