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Economy sees steady signal

Ouyang Shijia
Updated: Dec 18,2019 09:20 AM    China Daily

The Chinese economy, despite headwinds, is set to continue its steady run for the rest of the year, and the country is confident it can meet its economic goals, according to its top economic regulator.

"China's economy has maintained a momentum of steady and sound development. And the long-term positive trend of the economy has not changed," said Meng Wei, a spokeswoman for the National Development and Reform Commission.

"Looking forward, we have the confidence as well as the conditions to achieve the annual growth goals for economic and social development," Meng said on Dec 17 at an NDRC news conference in Beijing.

The National Bureau of Statistics said the economy performed better than expected in November, with manufacturing activity returning to expansion, indicating that the economy is picking up. The purchasing managers index for the manufacturing sector firmed up to 50.2 in November from 49.3 in October.

Meng expected the overall consumer price index, a key gauge of inflation, is set to meet the annual growth target of 3 percent as sufficient supply of industrial goods, agricultural products and a recovery of the pig supply have laid a solid foundation.

"Taking into account the upcoming Spring Festival, consumer price inflation may be higher in early 2020," Meng added, saying the NDRC will continue to closely monitor price changes and take measures accordingly to ensure supplies and stabilize prices.

Cheng Shi, chief economist and managing director of ICBC International, said the long-term uptrend of pork prices will last until at least the first quarter of 2020.

"Considering the structural price rise, it is unlikely to see China heading for stagflation in 2020," Cheng said.

China is now transitioning from a rapid development stage to a new phase of high-quality development, shifting the focus to quality instead of the quantity.

To foster sustainable high-quality development, China is ramping up efforts to deepen reform and opening-up.

Despite the complex and volatile external environment, China's foreign direct investment inflows saw stable growth in the first 11 months.

The Ministry of Commerce said FDI inflows rose 2.6 percent year-on-year to $124.4 billion during the period, ranking second in value worldwide.

Meng said this demonstrated foreign companies' strong confidence in the development prospects of China, saying we will see more foreign-financed projects in China, covering fields of new energy, new petrochemicals, IT and more.

"In the next step, we will continue to work with relevant parties to optimize the environment for foreign companies and open the market wider," Meng added. "The negative list for foreign access to business sectors will be revised again next year, allowing the operation of wholly foreign-owned businesses in more sectors."

The stock market ended in a bullish mood on Dec 17, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index closing up 1.27 percent at 3,022.42.

"Affected by several positive factors, downward pressure will be relieved to some extent in 2020," Liu Yuanchun, vice-president of Renmin University of China, said at a recent macroeconomic forum in Beijing.

A new report released during the forum predicted China would see 6.1 percent GDP growth in 2019, meeting the annual projected growth goal of 6 to 6.5 percent growth.

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