China leaders meet to discuss financial reforms, economic growth

Mon Oct 26, 2015 12:33am EDT
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BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China's ruling Communist Party opened a key meeting on Monday that will focus on financial reforms and how to maintain growth of around seven percent and more broadly map out economic and social targets for the next five years.

The Central Committee, the largest of the party's elite governing bodies with more than 200 full members, is gathering until Thursday to finalize the 13th Five-Year Plan, a blueprint for economic and social development between 2016 and 2020.

The meeting takes place amid growing concerns over a slowing Chinese economy.

China cut interest rates for the sixth time in less than a year on Friday. Monetary policy easing in the world's second-largest economy is at its most aggressive since the 2008/09 financial crisis, as growth looks set to slip to a 25-year-low this year of under 7 percent.

China's economy grew 6.9 percent in the July-to-September quarter from a year earlier, data showed last week.

The official Xinhua news agency, in a brief dispatch, said the meeting - formally called a plenum - had opened in Beijing. It gave no other details.

The highly secretive event, normally held at the Jingxi Hotel in western Beijing, will end with a long communique released by Xinhua, and will then probably be followed by a more detailed statement about a week later.

In a slew of commentaries on Monday, state media offered details on what could be decided.

Jin Zhongxia, executive director for China on the International Monetary Fund's policymaking board, told the Shanghai Securities News that China will increasingly rely on the interbank market to set bank deposit rates and interest rates.   Continued...

A Chinese national flag flutters at the headquarters of a commercial bank on a financial street near the headquarters of the People's Bank of China, China's central bank, in central Beijing in this November 24, 2014 file photo. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/Files