Exclusive: China plans to set 2015 growth target at 'around 7 percent' - sources

Wed Jan 28, 2015 5:56am EST
 
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By Kevin Yao

BEIJING (Reuters) - China plans to cut its growth target to around 7 percent in 2015, its lowest goal in 11 years, sources said, as policymakers try to manage slowing growth, job creation and pursuing reforms intended to make the economy more driven by market forces.

The growth target, which is set to be announced by Premier Li Keqiang at the annual parliament session in March, was endorsed by top party leaders and policymakers at a closed-door Central Economic Conference in December, said a number of people with knowledge of the outcome of meeting who spoke to Reuters.

The target, which is in line with market expectations, has not been previously reported.

"This year's economic growth target will be around 7 percent, but the 7 percent should be the bottom line," said one of the sources, an influential economist who advises the government.

"The government will have to balance economic growth, employment and structural reforms this year," said the economist, who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.

The use of "around" to qualify the growth forecast repeats terminology used last year by authorities to show they were not fixed on a hard target.

Although the target was endorsed in December, it is still possible for it to be adjusted before the parliament convenes.

The State Council Information Office, the public relations arm of the government, had no comment on the growth forecast when contacted by Reuters.   Continued...