China backs away from long-term GDP targets

Financial Times, Oct 26, 2017
by Gabriel Wildau

China has backed away from setting long-term economic growth targets, which experts say have forced Beijing to adopt aggressive monetary and fiscal stimulus that have led to a dangerous debt build-up, wasteful investment and environmental degradation.

The course correction reflects President Xi Jinping’s increased room to manoeuvre following a five-yearly Communist party congress in which he consolidated his political power. The party leadership enshrined Mr Xi’s name and signature slogans in its constitution alongside those of Mao Zedong, while declining to designate a successor to Mr Xi whose presence might have diluted his authority.

In a report delivered in a three-hour speech at the opening of the congress last week, Mr Xi did not mention his previously announced goal of doubling real gross domestic product from its 2010 level by 2020, leading observers to wonder whether the goal had been tacitly abandoned.

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