China's growth target of around 5 percent for 2023 is reasonable and achievable, as it conforms to the nation's economic trends and will foster high-quality development, the country's top economic regulator said on Monday.
Analysts and business executives expressed strong confidence in China's economic prospects despite the pressures and challenges ahead, saying that the country has the capability to achieve the annual economic growth target amid improved domestic consumption and increased infrastructure spending.
Zhao Chenxin, deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission, said that setting an annual growth target of around 5 percent can help guide various parties to focus on ensuring better quality and performance while promoting economic growth, form a new development pattern and foster high-quality development.
China's 31 provincial-level regions on its mainland have set their growth targets for 2023, with 27 of them setting their growth targets higher than the national one and 23 targeting at least 5.5 percent, Zhao said at a news conference in Beijing on Monday.
"Their (strong) confidence and pragmatic measures (to stabilize growth) have created conditions and laid a foundation for the nation to achieve its growth target this year," Zhao said. "We are confident of achieving the annual targets."
Zhao said the country will mainly focus on strengthening macro policy regulation, maintaining the continuity and consistency of macro policies and ensuring that the implementation of the strategy to expand domestic demand is integrated with efforts to deepen supply-side structural reform.
More efforts will be made to further unleash the potential of household consumption, boost investment, expand high-standard opening-up and defuse risks in areas such as the property sector, finance and local government debt, he said.
Lu Ting, chief China economist at Nomura, said that China's GDP growth target for 2023 is reasonable and rational, as the country's economy is still expected to face multiple headwinds over the course of the year.
"We view it as a relatively conservative but pragmatic proposal for delivering a healthy and organic economic recovery from last year's COVID disruptions, and we still see no sign of a massive stimulus program," Lu said.
He said his team continues to expect China's GDP growth to reach 5.3 percent this year from 3 percent last year.
Given China's optimized COVID-19 response measures and the stability in its macro policies, Li Chao, chief economist at Zheshang Securities, estimated that China's economy will likely expand by 5.1 percent in 2023, above the annual growth target.
Li's views were echoed by Luo Zhiheng, chief economist at Yuekai Securities, who expressed confidence that China will likely achieve its annual growth target of around 5 percent, mainly driven by infrastructure spending as well as the improvement in both property investment and consumption.
At Monday's news conference, Li Chunlin, another deputy head of the NDRC, highlighted the strong recovery of mobility and the services industry since the Chinese New Year holiday, saying that consumption will serve as a main driving force boosting China's economic growth this year.
He said that the country will take steps to stabilize spending on big-ticket items, boost consumption in the services sector, increase people's incomes through multiple channels, and encourage green consumption and new types of consumption, as well as support consumption in key fields including housing, new energy vehicles, care for the elderly and healthcare.
Jeffery Liu, vice-president of United States-based materials science company Corning Inc, said that the company, which has benefited a lot from China's reforms and opening-up in the past decades, is bullish about the country's long-term prospects and sees huge growth potential in the ultra-large Chinese market.