AP

China backs away from growth goal, sticks to virus controls

Jul 28, 2022, 8:22 AM | Updated: Jul 29, 2022, 12:04 am

BEIJING (AP) — China’s leaders effectively acknowledged the struggling economy won’t hit its official 5.5% growth target this year and said Thursday they will try to prop up sagging consumer demand but will stick to strict anti-COVID-19 tactics that disrupted manufacturing and trade.

The announcement after a Communist Party planning meeting reflected the high cost President Xi Jinping’s government has been willing to incur to stop the virus in a politically sensitive year when Xi is widely expected to try to extend his term in power.

The party promised to “strive to achieve the best results” in the second half. It didn’t directly address the growth goal but dropped references in earlier statements about targets, effectively acknowledging the economy will fall short after growing just 2.5% over a year ago in the first half.

“Policymakers implicitly walked back from the original growth target,” said Larry Hu of Macquarie Group in a report. “It means that they no longer view 5.5%, or even 5%, as achievable for this year.”

Party leaders promised to “actively act in expanding demand” and to make up for lack of consumer and business spending.

Retails sales, a major driver of growth, were off 0.7% from a year earlier in the first half after plunging 11% in April following the temporary shutdown of Shanghai and some other major cities to fight virus outbreaks.

Thursday’s statement affirmed support for the anti-COVID-19 strategy despite its rising economic cost and social disruption.

“We should resolutely and conscientiously implement the policies and measures for the prevention and control of COVID-19,” the statement said. “We should do a good job in tracking virus mutations and developing new vaccines and drugs.”

Forecasters don’t expect Beijing to ease anti-virus controls until at least after a ruling party congress in October or November, when Xi is expected to try to break with tradition and award himself a third five-year term as party leader.

China rebounded quickly from the pandemic in 2020, but activity weakened as the government tightened controls on use of debt by its vast real estate industry, which supports millions of jobs. Economic growth slid due to a slump in construction and housing sales.

Repeated shutdowns and uncertainty about business conditions have devastated entrepreneurs who generate most of China’s new wealth and jobs. Small retailers and restaurants have closed. Others say they are struggling to stay afloat.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Global technology outage causes chaos on Friday morning...

Associated Press

Faulty software update causes havoc worldwide for airlines, hospitals and governments

A global technology outage grounded flights, knocked banks and hospital systems offline and media outlets off air on Friday morning.

3 days ago

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump arrives during the second day of th...

Associated Press

Donald Trump celebrated by former rivals at Republican National Convention

Former president Donald Trump was celebrated at the Republican National Convention by former rivals, including Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis.

5 days ago

FILE - Members of the Henderson Fire Department load Deb Billet, 66, into an ambulance before trans...

Associated Press

Things to know about heat deaths as a dangerously hot summer shapes up in the western US

A dangerously hot summer is shaping up in the U.S. West, with heat suspected in dozens of recent deaths.

9 days ago

FILE - Dr. Ruth Westheimer participates in the "Ask Dr. Ruth" panel during the Hulu presentation at...

Associated Press

Dr. Ruth Westheimer, the sex therapist who became a pop icon, has died

Dr. Ruth Westheimer, the sex therapist who became a pop icon, media star and best-selling author, has died.

9 days ago

Biden proposes rule to protect 36 million workers from extreme heat...

Associated Press

Biden proposes new rule to protect 36 million workers from extreme heat

President Joe Biden on Tuesday proposed a new rule to address excessive heat in the workplace, warning — as tens of millions of people in the U.S. are under heat advisories — that high temperatures are the country's leading weather-related killer.

19 days ago

FILE - Rori Chang, of Glendale, Ariz., walks with her dog Ava as they leave the Maricopa Country An...

Associated Press

Here are ways that can help ease dogs’ July Fourth dread

Those with furry, four-legged family members will be searching for solutions to the Fourth of July anxiety that fireworks bring.

20 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Sanderson Ford

3 storylines to get you revved up for the 2024 Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals training camp is just a couple weeks away starting on July 25, and Sanderson Ford is revved up and ready to go.

...

Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

China backs away from growth goal, sticks to virus controls