Where Chinese economy holds in ministers' eyes
A transport vehicle delivers the installed power battery system parts at a workshop of SAIC-CATL Motor Power Battery System Co., Ltd. in Changzhou, east China's Jiangsu Province, Feb. 16, 2023. [Xinhua/Li Bo]
BEIJING -- China's economy has sustained a recovery momentum in the first three quarters, with the gross domestic product rising 5.2 percent year on year and per capita disposable income up 5.9 percent after deducting price factors.
What will be the outlook of the world's second-largest economy in the fourth quarter? How will the country strengthen efforts to promote economic expansion further and improve people's livelihood?
Xinhua has held a series of in-depth interviews with a number of ministerial-level officials. The following are the key takeaways of ministers' views on the questions:
-- Zheng Shanjie, head of China's top economic planner
"We are confident, well-positioned, and capable of overcoming various risks and challenges, promoting a sustained and stable economic recovery in the fourth quarter, and realizing the expected economic and social development goals and tasks throughout the year with high quality," said Zheng, head of the National Development and Reform Commission.
Tax and fee reduction measures will be concretely implemented while the issuance and use of special-purpose local government bonds will be accelerated. Financing support for the manufacturing sector's transformation and upgrading, small and micro-sized enterprises, as well as private enterprises, will be increased.
The government will also accelerate the cultivation and expansion of strategic emerging industries, stimulate new momentum for the innovative development of the digital economy, and accelerate the transformation and upgrading of traditional industries.
While accelerating the construction of public infrastructure, such as the renovation of shanty towns in cities and the construction of affordable housing, the government also seeks to strictly control new "hidden" local government debts and resolve existing debts in an effective and orderly manner. The "hidden" debt is separate from on-budget borrowings.
Efforts will also be made to boost employment among college graduates, migrant workers, and other groups. Meanwhile, the government will ensure market supply and maintain price stability for essential livelihood commodities, and ensure the supply of coal, electricity, oil, gas, as well as transport services during the winter season.
FINANCING & MONETARY POLICIES
-- Pan Gongsheng, China's central bank governor and head of foreign exchange administration
China will continue to guide its financial sector to serve the real economy better while fending off financial risks, said Pan, governor of the People's Bank of China.
The central bank will focus more on cross-cyclical and counter-cyclical adjustments, replenish its monetary policy toolbox, and establish a favorable monetary and financial environment to stabilize prices, promote economic growth, expand employment, and maintain the balance of international payments.
"We have the confidence and capability to ensure the stable operation of the forex market and keep the yuan exchange rate basically stable at reasonable and balanced levels," added Pan, also head of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange.
Work will be done to push forward the yuan's internationalization, promote trade and investment facilitation, and steadily expand the institutional opening up of the financial market.
-- Lan Fo'an, minister of finance
China will enhance the effectiveness of its proactive fiscal policy and implement existing policies well amid efforts to ensure high-quality economic development and defuse local government debt risks, Lan said.
The country will frontload part of its special-purpose local government bond quota set for 2024 and enhance fund management and efficiency.
Efforts will be made to improve fund management and efficiency, and guard against risks. Tighter supervision and fund management throughout all links will be put in place for the special-purpose bonds while strengthening performance management to prevent the funds from staying idle.
CONSUMPTION & TRADE
-- Wang Wentao, minister of commerce
China's consumption has seen both a steady recovery and strengthened momentum this year. It has become stronger as the primary economic driver, Wang said, predicting that the momentum will continue in the fourth quarter. However, the consumption recovery is still imbalanced, and consumer sentiment has room for further improvement.
China will move to consolidate the upward trend, Wang said, noting that the focus will be on stimulating the purchasing of cars, home appliances, and furniture, as well as consumption in the catering sector.
Despite unstable global economic recovery, China's foreign trade showed strong resilience. It remained stable thanks to an array of government policies that support the development of overseas warehouses, the processing trade, and new energy vehicle exports.
China will accelerate the roll-out of negative lists for services trade and unveil more policies on digital trade reform and innovation. It will also reduce the negative list for foreign investment, remove all restrictions on foreign investment in the manufacturing sector, and open up more service sectors such as telecommunications and tourism.
AGRICULTURAL & INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION
-- Tang Renjian, minister of agriculture and rural affairs
Agricultural work in China has been in good progress, with another bumper harvest expected this year. Autumn grain production, accounting for the lion's share of the annual grain output, is expected to increase and propel the annual grain output to surpass 650 billion kilograms, reaching a new historical peak.
The supply of meat, eggs, milk, vegetables, fruits, and aquatic products is also abundant, Tang said, noting that a stable and safe supply of grain and agricultural products is the foundation for maintaining overall economic and social stability and addressing various risks and challenges.
-- Jin Zhuanglong, minister of industry and information technology
"China's industrial system boasts extensive scale and comprehensive categories, with strong resilience and potential," said Jin, adding that with the measures to stabilize the economy taking effect, the upward trend is expected to be further consolidated in the fourth quarter.
Prioritizing fostering new edges, the ministry will draw up action plans for key industries and areas to promote digitalization and advance the building of new information infrastructure such as 5G and gigabit optical networks.
Efforts will also be made to nurture emerging industries, including advanced computing and intelligent networked vehicles, and take forward steps to map up future industries such as 6G, humanoid robots, and the metaverse.
EMPLOYMENT & HOUSING
-- Wang Xiaoping, minister of human resources and social security
"China's employment situation has generally improved and remained basically stable since the beginning of 2023," Wang said. Employment of young people, including college graduates, was basically stable and continued to improve, and the number of rural migrant workers continued to increase this year.
"We are full of confidence in keeping the employment situation stable in the future as the economic recovery continues to consolidate and positive factors for stabilizing employment keep accumulating," Wang said, adding that more work will be done to promote high-quality and sufficient employment to satisfy people's expectations better.
Work will be done to match supply and demand in the job market by promoting coordinated development of the modern industrial system and human resources and shoring up high-quality technical education and large-scale special training.
Wang put particular emphasis on creating more job opportunities for the youth by strengthening professional training and adjusting education plans as well as supporting young entrepreneurs.
-- Ni Hong, minister of housing and urban-rural development
Since the beginning of the year, a flurry of supportive measures to shore up China's property sector has been rolled out, Ni said. "These policy measures have yielded positive impacts on the sector."
China's property sector is in the process of transformation as major changes have occurred in the relationship between supply and demand in the real estate market.
In response to the new situation, China's property sector should "adhere to the principle that housing is for living in, not for speculation, and meet the essential housing demands of residents and their need for better living conditions."
Significant measures will be adopted to support the construction of affordable housing, the renovation of villages in cities, and public facility construction, as well as meeting reasonable financing demands of developers.