China aims for 6.5 percent to 7 percent economic growth in 2016 | Reuters

BEIJING China is aiming to expand its economy by 6.5 percent to 7 percent in 2016 and keep consumer inflation around 3 percent, Premier Li Keqiang said in remarks prepared for delivery at the opening of the annual meeting of parliament on Saturday.

The government is also aiming for annual growth in broad M2 money supply of around 13 percent and a budget deficit of 3 percent of gross domestic product in 2016, Li said in the work report.

Weighed down by sluggish demand at home and abroad, industrial overcapacity and faltering investment, China's economic growth slowed to 6.9 percent in 2015, its weakest in a quarter of a century, and economists widely expect it to cool further to around 6.5 percent this year.

Some China watchers believe real growth levels are already much weaker than official data suggests.

China's leaders had been widely expected to target economic growth at between 6.5 percent and 7 percent this year, setting a range for the first time because policymakers are uncertain about the economy's prospects.

(Reporting By Jake Spring and Kevin Yao; Editing by Kim Coghill; Editing by John Ruwitch and Kim Coghill)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date: Mar 05, 2016 06:30 AM

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