Women take an elevator at a newly opened up-scale shopping mall in Beijing, Tuesday, March 6, 2018. China's top economic official set a robust growth target Monday and promised more market opening and cuts in a bloated steel industry that has inflamed trade tensions with Washington and Europe. The growth target of "around 6.5 percent" announced by Premier Li Keqiang to China's ceremonial legislature, little-changed from last year, would be among the world's strongest if achieved. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

China's chief economic planner says growth target can be met

March 06, 2018 - 2:19 am

BEIJING (AP) — China's chief economic planner has expressed confidence that stronger consumer spending will help it meet a 6.5 percent growth target that is little changed from last year despite efforts to promote more sustainable, efficient activity.

The chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, He Lifeng, said Tuesday the share of growth accounted for by domestic consumption could rise above 60 percent. That would be up from last year's 58.8 percent.

He said the target announced Monday "can be realized through hard work."

Private sector analysts say the decision to set a target again this year suggests Chinese leaders still are concerned with the total growth figure. They said hitting the target might require Beijing to ease bank lending, which would set back reform efforts.

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