China starts key meeting to map out 2016 economic plans-state media: Xinhua

[BEIJING] China's top leaders have started an annual meeting to map out economic and reform plans for 2016, state media reported on Friday.

The annual Central Economic Work Conference is keenly watched by investors for clues on policy priorities and key economic targets for the year ahead.

Xinhua news agency said the meeting began on Friday, but it did not say when the conference would end.

The People's Daily reported on Friday that the meeting was underway but did not give further details.

In 2014, the pivotal economic conference was held Dec 9-11.

Chinese leaders pledged on Monday to keep the country's economic growth in a "reasonable range" in 2016 by expanding domestic demand and making supply-side improvements.

The government is expected to hold off from announcing 2016 economic targets, including GDP growth, investment and money supply growth, until the annual parliament meeting in March 2016.

President Xi Jinping has said that China must keep annual average growth of no less than 6.5 per cent over the next five years to hit the country's goal of doubling gross domestic product and per capita income by 2020 from 2010.

Beijing has been struggling to reach its economic growth target of around 7 per cent this year, despite a raft of policy easing steps in recent months.

Premier Li Keqiang has recently pledged to step up"supply-side" reforms to help generate new growth engines, and increased investment to spur domestic demand.

The People's Bank of China has cut interest rates six times since last November and reduced the amount of cash that banks must set aside as reserves.

The government has also raised spending on infrastructure projects and eased restrictions on home buying to boost the sluggish property market.


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