IMF: 6.5% growth 'achievable'

By Chen Weihua in Washington | China Daily USA | Updated: 2017-03-10 12:09

IMF: 6.5% growth 'achievable'

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) believes China can hit its growth target this year and also called for more economic rebalance and reform.

"We believe China's current strong economic momentum is likely to make 6.5 percent growth for 2017 achievable," IMF spokesman Gerry Rice told a press briefing on Thursday morning.

Premier Li Keqiang said on Sunday that China is setting a "realistic" economic growth target of "around 6.5 percent" for GDP, while the nation will "try to achieve better results".

In his government work report to the opening of the fifth plenary session of the 12th National People's Congress, China's top legislature, Li also talked about the government plan for further economic rebalancing and reform.

"The work report highlights China's efforts to maintain stability while guiding the economy toward a more inclusive, environmentally friendly and sustainable growth path," said Rice, who has been director of IMF's department of communications since 2011.

He added that implementation of the planned reforms will help achieve the goal.

China's efforts to transform and rebalance its economy have resulted in major progress on many fronts, including the external sector, where its large surplus account has been greatly reduced in the past decade, according to Rice.

"We also welcome China's stated strong commitment to multilateralism and international trade," he said, without mentioning if this was due to widespread concerns over US President Donald Trump's perceived retreat from globalization and global trade.

Rice said the IMF continued to advise China to focus less on high GDP growth targets and more on tackling excessive credit growth, reforming state-owned enterprises and improving the social security system.

He said while impressive progress has been made, the progress has been uneven on both rebalancing and reform.

"We see more on switching from industry to services, but less on tackling credit growth. We see more on liberalizing financial markets, but less on improving governance, hardening state-owned enterprises budget constraints," he said.

He warned that this might cause rising vulnerabilities and eroding buffers. "So this calls for, in our view, more urgency in the implementation of the reforms," Rice said.

He also noted that the Chinese authorities are well aware of the challenges they face and have made it clear, as seen in various policy announcements, the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20) and the recent regulatory action against financial risks.

In January, the IMF revised its forecast for China's GDP growth in 2017 by 0.3 percentage point from its October forecast to 6.5 percent.

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