Saturday, March 19, 2016

China Determined to Avoid 'Hard Landing' for Economy

China's economy will not suffer a "hard landing", Premier Li Keqiang said Wednesday, stepping up Beijing's charm offensive to reassure investors that the government can manage slowing growth.

"We have long-term confidence in the Chinese economy and this confidence isn't without a foundation," Li told his once-a-year press conference at the end of the National People's Congress (NPC), the Communist-controlled legislature.

Beijing has been looking to send positive messages in recent weeks after expansion in the world's second-largest economy fell to a 25-year low of 6.9 percent in 2015, raising concerns on global markets and sending commodity prices plunging.

Li has reduced the target for this year to a range of 6.5-7 percent, while ratings agency Moody's has lowered its outlook on Chinese bonds.

Authorities have spent hundreds of billions of dollars to defend share prices and the yuan currency in recent months, raising questions over their commitment to market reforms.

Li acknowledged that the government had "controlled some things that should not be controlled, hindering productivity", and said leaders had failed to ensure a fair playing field in the economy.

But he added: "As long as we persist with reform and opening up, China's economy won't have a hard landing."

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