Unexpected shocks slow down China’s economy: Premier Li Keqiang
Amid an economic slowdown, China must adopt special measures to offset “shocks beyond expectations” in the second quarter, according to Premier Li Keqiang.
“Now is the most critical time for economic rebound,” he told provincial leaders at a meeting in Shenzhen, according to official statements on Wednesday.
He said officials must “coordinate the coronavirus (COVID-19) response with economic and social development to ensure effective virus containment, economic stability and development security.”
The prime minister was referring to lockdowns imposed under China’s strict zero-pandemic policy, which have stunted growth.
Li called on the six strongest provinces, which together account for 45 percent of economic output, to “proactively” boost growth.
“They should effectively implement the package of measures to stabilize the economy and unleash their own political potential,” he said.
He also said these provinces should play a leading role in creating and preserving jobs, noting that “weak demand is a pronounced impediment to economic activity.”
Mr Li’s comments were a public acknowledgment of the weakening Chinese economy and came as key indicators such as industrial production, retail sales and fixed asset investment all fell below forecasts. in July.
In an unexpected move to support the economy, China’s central bank cut some interest rates.
In the second quarter, China’s economy grew just 0.4%, well below the government’s target of 5.5% for the year as a whole.
According to estimates by the International Monetary Fund, the Chinese economy is expected to grow by only 3.3% this year.