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BEIJING (Reuters) - China plans to set a lower economic growth target of 6-6.5 percent in 2019 compared with last year’s target of “around” 6.5 percent, policy sources told Reuters, as Beijing gears up to cope with higher U.S. tariffs and weakening domestic demand.
The proposed target, to be unveiled at the annual parliamentary session in March, was endorsed by top leaders at the annual closed-door Central Economic Work Conference in mid-December, according to four sources with knowledge of the meeting’s outcome.
Data later this month is expected to show the Chinese economy grew around 6.6 percent in 2018 - the weakest since 1990. Analysts are forecasting a further loss of momentum this year before policy support steps begin to kick in.
“It’s very difficult for growth to exceed 6.5 percent (this year), and there could be trouble if growth dips below 6 percent,” said one source who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.
As the world’s second-largest economy loses steam, China’s top leaders are closely watching employment levels as factories could be forced to shed workers amid a trade war with the United States, despite a more resilient services sector, policy insiders said.
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