China’s economy aims for up to 7% growth this year

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China’s leaders made clear they are emphasizing growth over restructuring this year, but suggested they are trying to avoid inflating debt or asset bubbles as they send massive amounts of money coursing through the economy.

The government’s announcement of a 6.5% to 7% growth target for 2016 at the start of the National People’s Congress over the weekend came with subtle acknowledgment that some of its efforts to jump-start a persistently decelerating economy have misfired, failing to steer stimulus to the most productive sectors.

In his report to the annual legislative session, which opened Saturday, Premier Li Keqiang promised tax cuts that could leave companies with more money to invest. And for the first time, the Chinese government specified total social financing — a broad measure of credit that includes both bank loans and nonbank lending — as a metric for helping determine monetary policy.

This year, the two targets are paired, with both set to increase 13%.

“The government seeks to more accurately show where the money is going, and whether credit is being used to support the real economy,” said Sheng Songcheng, head of the central bank’s survey and statistics department, in an interview.

By Mark Magnier and Lingling Wei

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