China's economy: defining the new normal
China's economy: defining the new normal. The annual session of the National People's Congress, China's rubber-stamp parliament, starts today. The highlight of the minutely scripted proceedings will be the work report of the premier, Li Keqiang. Mr Li is likely to flesh out Chinese officialdom's latest economic slogan: the new normal of slower growth and faster reform. Most important, he will disclose the official growth target. Set at 7.5% in recent years, it is expected to be cut to 7%, signalling less emphasis on GDP. That message will be reinforced by commitments to more social spending, notably on health care and education, and by promises to rein in lending to control debt. The government's budget-deficit target is also worth watching. An increase in that, to about 3% of GDP, would indicate that although embracing slightly slower growth, China's authorities want to be sure of avoiding a sharp deceleration.
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