Officials say consumption, investment, biz climate offer lot of hope for this year
Challenges will continue to beset the Chinese economy this year amid a tough external environment and evolving COVID-19 woes, but policies to boost consumption, catalyze effective investment and improve the business climate will help in overcoming them, officials said.
During a news briefing on Tuesday, Jin Xiandong, head of policy research at the National Development and Reform Commission, said that last year, economic operations turned out to be more complicated than expected, yet China managed to strike a good balance between achieving steady economic growth and keeping the level of inflation comparatively low.
He said that as noted by the Central Economic Work Conference, the economy is faced with "threefold "pressure of a contraction in demand, hit in supplies and weakening expectations. Yet, there are still notable positive conditions underpinning steady growth. The country is fully capable of and confident in keeping economic growth steady, healthy and sustainable.
Yuan Da, also an official with the NDRC, said COVID-19 has hurt household consumption directly, while difficulties for medium-sized, small and micro businesses are also on the rise.
While cross-cyclical adjustments made last year will continue to have a positive impact on the economy this year, the NDRC will make new policies to build on the gains.
Fiscal, monetary, employment, industrial, investment, consumption and regional policies will all be coordinated. Full evaluations will be made before new policies are implemented to ensure they are conducive to steady growth.
He said more efforts will be made this year to scale up effective investment.
Efforts will be intensified in bringing forward "new infrastructure" investment and in stepping up digitalization of traditional industries and in the construction of affordable housing. The intensity of effective investment in manufacturing will also be substantially increased.
Yuan said part of this year's special local government bonds' quota has already been allocated to local governments. Efforts will be in place to help these bonds generate economic activities at the earliest possible time, underpinning investment growth in the first quarter.
This year, the government will do more to enable China's business environment by breaking invisible barriers and deepening market-oriented reforms, Jin said.
The negative list for market access will be further revised this year. New steps will be taken to boost consumption. Quality improvements will be made from the supply side to better cater to household demand. Policies to increase household incomes and reduce burdens are expected to be issued at an appropriate time to increase people's willingness to buy.
It was noted at the Tuesday briefing that in 2021, China's electricity consumption, a key barometer of economic activity, went up 10.3 percent over 2020.
Li Yunqing, director of the economic operation regulation department at the NDRC, said total electricity consumption is expected to rise rapidly this year, while the goal of clean and low-carbon transformation of energy has placed higher requirement on guaranteeing power supply.
He said the NDRC will work with other departments to ensure sufficient power supply to safeguard and support steady socioeconomic development this year.
(Source: China Daily)