[BEIJING] China is making 6.5 per cent a floor or minimum level for annual economic growth in 2016 through 2020, a senior Chinese policymaker said on Monday, adding that the figure would be a base for setting a target for the five-year period.
The economic growth target has not been fixed yet, as that is an objective that needs to be approved by the National People's Congress, Yang Weimin, Vice Minister of the Office of the Central Leading Group on Financial and Economic Affairs, told a news conference in Beijing.
The National People's Congress holds an annual meeting of policymakers in March, which sets key economic targets for the year. "The 6.5 per cent itself is not a target. We still need to wait till next March to determine the final target," Yang said.
China's President Xi Jinping said last week that China needed to maintain annual economic growth of at least 6.5 per cent over the next five years to realise the country's goal of doubling 2010 GDP and per capita income by 2020.
The economy grew 6.9 per cent between July and September from a year earlier, dipping below 7 per cent for the first time since the global financial crisis, though some market watchers believe real growth rates are much weaker than government figures suggest.
China's fiscal reform plans will also be adjusted according to conditions in the next five years, including letting the central government have more spending obligations, reducing the need for local governments to borrow heavily or to sell land to raise revenues for key social services, Yang added.