China sets 6.5 pct to 7 pct economic growth target range for 2016

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A worker rides past a poster showing Beijing's central business district outside a construction site in Beijing. Photo: Reuters A worker rides past a poster showing Beijing's central business district outside a construction site in Beijing. Photo: Reuters

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China set an economic growth target range of 6.5 percent to 7 percent for this year, slower than the objective of about 7 percent in 2015, the head of the country’s top economic planner said.
While downward pressure on the economy is "relatively big" in the first quarter, China has the ability to realize such a goal, National Development and Reform Commission Chairman Xu Shaoshi said Wednesday at briefing in Beijing. The country also plans to take steps to curb excess industrial capacity and deal with unprofitable "zombie companies," Xu said.
China has many policy tools to deploy, and the central bank’s recent cut to minimum down payments for first time home buyers will help reduce excess housing stock, Xu said.
Growth last year slowed to 6.9 percent, the slowest annual pace in a quarter century. President Xi Jinping has said gross domestic product gains in the next five years should average at least 6.5 percent per year to realize the goal of doubling 2010 gross domestic product and per capita income by 2020.

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