Here’s What You Need to Know After Day One of China’s NPC

(Bloomberg) -- China’s National People’s Congress kicked off its annual gathering in Beijing on Sunday, with a speech from outgoing Premier Li Keqiang outlining key economic targets for the year.

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The legislative meetings, which draw thousands of delegates and will run until March 13, will culminate in the biggest reshuffle of China’s economic policy team in a decade.

Here’s a summary of what we learned on the first day of the NPC:

China’s Modest GDP Growth Target Reduces Need for More Stimulus

China set a modest economic growth target of about 5% for the year, with the nation’s top leaders avoiding any large stimulus to boost a recovery still being weighed down by weak business confidence and an uncertain property market.

China’s Central Government to Borrow More: 2023 Budget Details

The central government is planning to increase borrowing by almost a fifth this year to help finance a slightly bigger budget deficit, helping to reduce pressure on debt-laden local governments.

China Defense Spending to Rise 7.2%, Fastest Pace in Four Years

China said its defense spending would grow by 7.2% this year — the fastest pace since 2019 amid increasing tensions with the US on a range of issues, including Taiwan.

China’s 5% GDP Target Says Xi’s Crackdowns Are Not Over: Shuli Ren

Beijing’s annual growth goals do not necessarily reflect the true state of the economy, but they do reveal top policy makers’ sentiments, writes Bloomberg Opinion columnist Shuli Ren. This year’s modest target and a regulatory overhang may deter some investors from returning any time soon.

CHINA REACT: Growth Goal Looks Achievable After Big Miss in 2022

Premier Li Keqiang has delivered a conservative growth goal for 2023, combined with a supportive spending plan. The pairing probably reflects the government’s determination to hit its target after missing by a wide margin in 2022.

China to Target ‘Unregulated’ Expansion in Property Market

China said it will target disorderly expansion in the property sector, as policy makers seek to strike a balance between boosting economic growth and defusing financial risks.

Economists See China’s ‘Conservative’ GDP Goal as a Cautious Sign

The 2023 growth target is a conservative goal that suggests the government is wary of challenges that may weigh on the economy and wants to account for risks to a recovery that is steadily building momentum, economists said.

China Emphasizes ‘Whole Nation’ Stance on Tech as US Curbs Bite

The government pledged to pool together all of the nation’s resources to achieve self-reliance in technology. That underscores its determination to secure key breakthroughs in areas such as semiconductors as tensions with the US escalate.

China Seeks ‘Peaceful Reunification’ With Taiwan in Key Report

In an annual report to the nation’s legislature, China largely kept its language regarding Taiwan unchanged, suggesting that President Xi Jinping is maintaining the government’s existing policy toward the self-ruled island.

China Gives New Backing to Coal Even as Clean Energy Accelerates

The government signaled coal will retain its role as the country’s mainstay fuel even as it continues to support the expansion of its world-leading clean energy industry.

China Aims to Boost Grain Capacity Under New Food Security Push

China will push to increase grain production capacity by 50 million tons under the nation’s drive to bolster food security and meet rising demand.

Data Fraud Is Focus To Bolster China’s Lackluster Carbon Market

Authorities in China will crack down on carbon data fraud as they try to strengthen the nation’s ailing emissions trading system ahead of a planned expansion.

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