China aims to boost consumption and imports as global demand cools

China aims to boost consumption and imports as global demand cools
FILE PHOTO: A woman and a child walk past workers sorting toys at a shopping mall in Beijing, China January 11, 2023. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang/File Photo

BEIJING: China’s cabinet said on Saturday (Jan 28) it would promote a consumption recovery as the major driver of the economy and boost imports, state broadcaster CCTV reported, at a time of cooling global demand as major economies teeter on the brink of recession.

At a meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang, China’s state council – which functions as the cabinet – also vowed to speed up the rollout of foreign investment projects, maintain a stable yuan, ease cross-border travel and help companies to participate in domestic and overseas trade shows.

The cabinet also reaffirmed its support for the private sector and digital platform economy, which have taken a knock from a series of regulatory crackdowns in recent years.

It also discussed measures to support farmers to start spring planting, including subsidies for soybean sowing, CCTV reported.

During the week-long Chinese New Year holiday that ended on Friday, consumption increased 12.2 per cent from the same period last year, the tax authority said on Saturday, reflecting a rebound after the relaxing of some of the world’s tightest COVID-19 curbs.

Analysts at Japanese brokerage Nomura said in a research note on Saturday that consumption of in-person services had recovered notably, as seen in the rebound of trips made and tourism earnings.

But they said households were likely to be moderate in releasing pent-up demand.

Chinese exports shrank sharply in December as global demand cooled, but a more modest decline in imports led economic analysts to forecast a slow recovery in domestic demand in the coming months.

China’s economy grew by 3.0 per cent in 2022, when stringent COVID-19 measures were still in place, well below the official target for “around” 5.5 per cent, official data showed earlier this month.

Growth is expected to rebound to 4.9 per cent in 2023, before steadying in 2024, the poll showed.

Source: Reuters/gs