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China sets GDP target of ‘around 5.5%’ for 2022

Workers weld at a workshop of an automobile manufacturer in Qingzhou, East China’s Shandong Province, on March 1, 2022.
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BEIJING — China announced a gross domestic product growth target of “around 5.5%” for 2022, as an annual parliamentary meeting gets underway.

Premier Li Keqiang revealed the figure in a speech on Saturday morning local time.

Analysts widely expected the GDP target to be set at about 5% or slightly higher. They are looking for details about stimulus plans for an economy that has slowed significantly.

China’s economic growth softened in the fourth quarter to a 4% year-on-year increase, despite full-year growth of 8.1%.

The country was the only major economy to grow in 2020, while the rest of the world struggled with the coronavirus pandemic.

But sluggish consumer spending has yet to fully recover from the pandemic, and fallout from Beijing’s regulatory crackdown on tech and real estate have dragged on growth. China’s stringent “zero-Covid” policy, with abrupt lockdowns and travel restrictions, has also weighed on the economy.

In the last two weeks, the heads of government ministries have spoken of plans for more economic support, especially for small businesses and consumers.

The “Two Sessions” is an annual meeting of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, an advisory body, and the National People’s Congress legislature in Beijing.

While largely symbolic, the meetings draw delegates from around the country to approve and announce national economic policies for the year ahead. Those include targets for GDP growth, employment, inflation, deficit and government spending.

This year, the Two Sessions will last about a week, with proceedings set to wrap up on March 11.

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