October 29, 2015 / 6:28 AM / 2 years ago

China premier suggests China needs minimum economic growth of 6.5 percent next five years: Bloomberg

Buildings at a construction site are silhouetted in Beijing, China, October 15, 2015. Picture taken October 15, 2015. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China’s Premier Li Keqiang said China requires annual growth of at least 6.53 percent over the next five years, Bloomberg reported, citing unidentified sources.

Chinese leaders are meeting in Beijing to decide on an economic growth target for the next five years. An official document is expected to be published later on Thursday.

Bloomberg said Li’s comments were made in a speech to Communist Party members on Oct 23. They were circulating widely on Chinese social media earlier on Thursday, but no mention of the comments has appeared in state media.

China’s most recent annual GDP target for 2015 stands at around 7 percent. The economy grew 6.9 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier.

People are waiting for the announcement of the new growth target as a sign of whether China plans to push on with aggressive reform - which would likely result in slower growth - or seek to maintain higher growth rates to guard against the risk of an economic hard landing.

Chinese financial markets did not exhibit any reaction to the rumors. Currency and stock markets were steady on Thursday.

Reporting by Pete Sweeney; Editing by Neil Fullick

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