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BEIJING, Dec 16 DPA

December 16 2012, 10:19PM

Expanding domestic consumption will drive China's economic development next year, according to a statement issued at a key annual leadership meeting.

With export growth falling in November to 2.9 per cent year-on-year, down from 11.6 per cent in October, China's new leaders are pinning their hopes for the world's second-largest economy on fostering demand at home.

Sunday's statement was issued at the two-day Central Economic Work Conference in Beijing.

But unlike after previous meetings, state media did not immediately report China's much-anticipated target for gross domestic product.

China is expected to retain its 2012 growth target of 7.5 per cent for 2013.

Succeeding Hu Jintao last month, Communist Party leader Xi Jinping chose Shenzhen, the cradle of China's economic reforms and opening-up policy, as the venue for his first official trip, in which he stressed the need for comprehensive and systemic economic reform.

The weekend meeting granted Xi his first official opportunity to make his mark on the mapping-out of key economic plans for 2013, including not just the target for economic growth, but also a range of measures involving the deficit, tax policy and urbanisation.

The Chinese economy relies on exports, government expenditure and investment, with leaders vowing to protect foreign investors' rights, including intellectual property rights, according to the Xinhua news agency.

China also wants to encourage both private and public investment next year, including through increased investments in infrastructure projects.

China will also promote urbanisation, while retaining control of the property market, and will continue to implement a proactive fiscal policy and prudent monetary policy.

Convened by the Central Committee of the Communist Party and the State Council, the annual end-of-year conference usually takes three days to lay out the national agenda for the economy.