BEIJING, Jan 28 (Reuters) – China’s cabinet said on Saturday 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 Lunar New Year holiday that ended on Friday, consumption increased 12.2% 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% in 2022, when stringent COVID measures were still in place, well below the official target for “around” 5.5%, official data showed earlier this month.
Growth is expected to rebound to 4.9% in 2023, before steadying in 2024, according to a Reuters poll of economists.
(This story has been corrected to make clear in the ninth paragraph that official 2022 GDP data was released)
Reporting by Yew Lun Tian
Additional reporting by Shanghai newsroom
Editing by Helen Popper