According to the text of Premier Li Keqiang’s annual policy address on Friday, China has rejected its usual practice of setting a numerical goal for economic growth this year due to the looming uncertainty that has resulted from the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.
“I would like to point out that we have not set a specific target for economic growth this year,” the report said. “This is because our country will face some factors that are difficult to predict in its development due to the great uncertainty regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and the world economic and trade environment.”
The Communist Party's rigid planning habits have been broken due to the devastation caused by the novel virus. They have instead shifted focus to employment and maintaining stability with a growth outlook.
In his address, Li also announced plans to impose a national security law in Hong Kong, a development that pushed stocks there lower. The yuan was steady while the details on bond issuance helped drive yields on benchmark Chinese 10-year government bonds down to 2.625 per cent, heading for the lowest in two weeks.
According to the text, the Chinese President had set a target of over 9 million jobs, lower than the 2019 target of around 11 million for job creation, and a target for the urban surveyed unemployment rate of around 6 per cent, higher than 2019’s goal.
He also talked about the recent controversy over the ‘phase one’ trade deal with the U.S. signed earlier this year before the COVID-19 outbreak and said that China will work with the U.S. to implement the agreement.
Local governments are all set to issue 3.75 trillion yuan in local special bonds this year to help finance infrastructure investment.
“It is crucial that we take steps to ensure enterprises can secure loans more easily and promote steady reduction of interest rates,” according to the report.