A girl rides bike at a park in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, Oct 23, 2022. (PHOTO / VCG)
China has favorable conditions and the capability to maintain robust economic growth in 2023 despite headwinds, according to officials and experts.
Even though China is facing multiple pressures from shrinking demand, supply shocks, weakening expectations as well as a complicated and grim external environment, the country has the confidence, capabilities and conditions to achieve an overall recovery and improvement in its economic performance, said Yuan Da, director of the Department of National Economy at the National Development and Reform Commission.
Yuan said at a news conference in Beijing on Wednesday that economic fundamentals that will sustain long-term growth remain unchanged, and the country has witnessed increasing positive factors behind the recovery.
"The pent-up consumption demand will gradually recover with the optimized COVID-19 measures taking effect, which will strongly boost growth. And effective investment will bring about rapid growth given the high-end, intelligent and green development of traditional industries, blossoming strategic emerging industries and the addressing of weak links," he said.
Jin Xiandong, director of the NDRC's Office of Policy Studies, said that China is gradually returning to normalcy in terms of life and production performance, as the country has passed its peak of COVID-19 infections.
So far, China's 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities on the mainland have set their growth targets for this year, mapping out economic blueprints for a robust 2023. Among them, 29 regions are targeting around 5 percent or even higher growth this year.
Looking ahead, Jin highlighted the importance of "new infrastructure" construction, saying that serves as a key engine for stabilizing investment, improving people's living standards and shoring up growth.
A batch of investments will be allocated from the central budget around Spring Festival to support construction of major "new infrastructure" projects. Notably, the country will strongly increase spending on developing information networks in remote central and western regions to address weak links, Jin added.
Luo Guosan, director of the NDRC's Department of Fixed Asset Investment, said expanding effective investment will help boost domestic demand, deal with unforeseen factors and maintain economic performance within a reasonable range.
Luo pledged more efforts to speed up the construction of major projects in fields like transportation, energy and water conservancy as well as increase support for manufacturing and private sector investment.
Their remarks came after data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed on Tuesday that China's economy expanded 3 percent last year. The figure is higher than the growth rates of the world's major economies, with less than 2 percent anticipated for both the United States and Japan and 1.9 percent recorded in Germany.
According to the NBS, the country's GDP in 2022 reached 121.02 trillion yuan ($18 trillion), an increase of about 6.1 trillion yuan.
During the past three years, China's economy expanded at an average annual growth rate of around 4.5 percent, higher than the average growth pace of the global economy, said Guo Liyan, director of the Comprehensive Situation Research Office of the Academy of Macroeconomic Research, which is part of the NDRC.
Guo said China's economy will continue to rebound in 2023, fueled mainly by a recovery in domestic demand, including both consumption and investment.
Guo's views were echoed by Zhou Maohua, an analyst at China Everbright Bank, who said consumption will boost growth this year.
Citing the growth targets set by 31 provincial-level regions, Zhou said China's GDP growth rate will likely be in the range of around 5 percent to 6 percent this year.