China to chart more stable economic course 03-06-2004 13:55

China has announced plans for modest economic growth and lower inflation in 2004. This is an effort to help the country's struggling rural regions. In his report to the ongoing NPC session, the minister in charge of the State Development and Reform Commission, Ma Kai, said China was aiming to keep the world's sixth largest economy from being roiled by what he calls "big ups and downs".

Ma Kai is the latest senior official to signal the easing of an economy closely watched by the international community.

His Commission is a powerful ministry in charge of steering China's economy. China targeted economic growth of around seven percent in 2004, a more modest pace than last year's growth rate of nine-point-one percent.

He said China aims to check inflation at three percent, and cap growth of the broad money supply at around seventeen percent.

Ma said: "Our main macro-control targets for 2004 are as follows: Economic growth rate around seven percent. Nine million new jobs for urban residents, and the registered urban unemployment rate confined to four-point-seven percent. A rise in the consumer price index of about three percent."

Outlining other economic targets, Ma said China would work to perfect the exchange rate mechanism of its currency, yuan, while keeping it stable.

China has resisted calls by the US, Japan and others to revalue the yuan, saying the economy is too fragile to handle a sudden change, but that it is committed to relaxing controls over time.

Ma said foreign trade is targeted for an eight-percent rise. China's exports jumped nearly thirty-five percent while imports soared almost forty percent in 2003.


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