“High Quality Growth” to Be Key Theme of Central Economic Work Conference

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China’s 2017 Central Economic Work Conference is expected to focus upon the theme of “high quality growth.”

Securities Daily reports that many observers expect the Central Economic Work Conference to signal a shift towards a quality growth focus in the upcoming year.

“We expect high-quality growth to emerge as the key theme of this year’s Central Economic Work Conference,” said Li Mian, a researcher with Peking University’s State Enterprise Reform and Development Research Centre.

Zhang Lianqi (张连起), managing partner with Ruihua Certified Public Accountants, said to Securities Daily  that in 2018 Beijing would dial down its GDP targets in order to improve the “quality” of China’s economic growth.

“Following a shift from a high-speed growth phase to a high-quality growth phase, next year’s GDP target will be set at around 6.5%,” said Zhang, who see fiscal policy becoming more active next year, as well as large-scale reductions in taxes and government services fees.

A recent report from China’s State Information Center concurs with Zhang’s assessment, stating that in 2018 the country will make the quality of economic growth a greater priority, and proposing that the GDP growth target be set at around 6.5%.

The report recommends maintaining active fiscal policy, and keeping the national deficit rate at around 3.0%, as well as appropriately expanding the issuance of special bonds by local governments.

The report also calls for the maintenance of stable and neutral monetary policy, active and appropriate deleveraging, and recommends that the growth target for China’s total social financing stock be set at 12%.

The IMF recently called for China to dial down its highly ambitious growth goals, on the grounds that they compel local governments to engage in rapid credit expansion in order to meet performance targets.

The Central Economic Work Conference comes close on the heels of the Chinese Communist Party’s 19th National Congress, which made repeated reference to the need to transition from high speed growth to high quality growth.

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