China, the second largest economy in the world, aspires to achieve a growth rate of above 6% this year, despite the uncertainties surrounding the global economy due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to what Chinese Prime Minister Li Qichiang said on Friday in a lengthy speech at the opening of the annual session of Parliament, during 2021 China will continue to face many risks and challenges in the field of development.
“The economic foundations that will support long-term growth have not changed,” he told about 3,000 deputies comprising Parliament, most of whom wore blue masks.
The International Monetary Fund had expected the Asian giant to achieve a growth of 8.1% this year, a number inflated mathematically after the bleak year of 2020 due to the pandemic and its repercussions.
And China, which was the first country in the world to have the Covid-19 virus appearing and the first to cripple its economy due to the epidemic, in 2020 amended its determination of the annual growth rate that you aspire to, in a very rare decision in the modern history of this country.
And after resorting to unprecedented lockdown measures that negatively impacted economic activity in the country, China witnessed a historic decline in the growth rate during the first quarter of 2020 (-6.8%). However, the gradual improvement of the epidemiological situation in the country from spring, allowed the GDP to recover.
Unlike most countries in the world that plunged into recession, China ended last year with a positive growth rate (+ 2.3%), but this percentage is much lower than the growth rates it has been accustomed to since 1976, the second largest economy in the world after the United States.
To support the struggling economy due to the repercussions of the pandemic, China increased in 2020 the percentage of its budget deficit to 3.6% of GDP, and the Chinese Prime Minister said that this percentage will be reduced this year to about 3.2%.
China has not recorded a budget surplus since 2007. In addition, Beijing has set itself a labor market target of creating about 11 million jobs this year.
According to the prime minister, the government also aims to reduce the level of unemployment to 5.5% in 2021, after it reached 5.6% in 2020, the year that witnessed the highest monthly unemployment level ever (6.2% in February at the height of the epidemic).
However, this figure does not reflect the full picture of the economic situation in the country, as the unemployment rate in China only takes into account the urban population, that is, it does not take into account the approximately 300 million migrant workers who migrate from the countryside to work in cities, and many of these have lost their jobs due to the crisis.