China lowers economic growth target for 2022


China’s GDP growth target for 2022 is sharply lower than 8.1 per cent expansion in the economy achieved in 2021….reports Asian Lite News

China on Saturday said its gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to grow at 5.5 per cent in 2022, the lowest in more than 30 years.

China’s GDP growth target for 2022 is sharply lower than 8.1 per cent expansion in the economy achieved in 2021.

The annual official growth target was revealed by Premier Li Keqiang in the Government Work Report that was delivered to the opening of the annual session of the National People’s Congress (NPC), the country’s top legislature, on Saturday morning, Global Times reported.

India has emerged as the fastest-growing major economy. The Indian economy is projected to grow by 9.2 per cent in the financial year ending March 2022. For the financial year 2022-23, India has set GDP growth target of 8 to 8.5 per cent.

Though China’s target is for the calendar year while India’s target is for the financial year that runs from April to March, the economic expansion of India is set to be much faster than that of China.

According to Economic Survey 2021-22 tabled in parliament by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on January 31, India has emerged as the fastest-growing major economy in the world and is projected to occupy that position for at least the next two years.

China’s GDP growth target of 5.5 per cent for 2022, is the lowest since 1991.

Another closely-watched data is China’s deficit-to-GDP ratio, which was set at around 2.8 per cent for 2022, according to the Government Work Report.

Meanwhile, twenty-eight of China’s 31 provincial-level governments have announced reduced growth targets and policy goals for 2022 as compared to previous years, indicative of the fact that China’s economic slowdown has become a cause of worry for its government, states a media report.

The recent data in which regions such as Shanghai, Guangdong and Beijing also recorded a lower growth rate as compared to the previous year, has posed a concern for the post-COVID economic recovery of China, The Hong Kong Post reported.

The weakening external demand counters China’s official claims of the economy having picked up, which in turn has worried President Xi Jinping about the bleak economic outlook of the country which may negatively impact his bid for another term at the 20th Party Congress later this year.

Ruptured industrial chain caused by COVID pandemic, pressure of carbon reduction, global supply chain disruptions, growing unemployment cast serious doubts regarding the government’s ability to revive the economy, the media outlet reported.

The revenue shortages confronted by central and provincial governments can be seen as local governments across China ordered teachers and officials to pay back bonuses while civil service bonuses were suspended in Shanghai, Jiangxi, Henan, Shandong, Chongqing, Hubei and Guangdong. This indicates a fiscal crisis faced by the Chinese government.

The fiscal health of Chinese local governments seems to have deteriorated, especially since the first half of 2020, the publication reported adding that all the provinces barring Shanghai reported fiscal deficits.

The increasing unemployment among the youth in China may also affect the popularity of the Chinese government and the CPC.

The adverse impact of the economic slowdown can be clearly seen in China’s financial sector as the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission recently revealed that a total of 2459 bank outlets of commercial banking institutions had ceased operations and its four major banks were compelled to close down 187 branches and retrench 22,355 personnel, The HK Post reported.

Xi’s goal of “Common Prosperity” has become an added burden on Chinese business circles as Beijing has fastened its grip on big business and imprisoned a number of billionaires despite receiving donations from them.

To add to China’s plight is an uncertain external environment amid the Ukraine-Russia war and the sanctions on Russia which may hit the Chinese economy even harder. (ANI)

ALSO READ: With new bill, US Senators warn China against Taiwan invasion