Premier Li Keqiang announced in the Government Work Report he delivered to the National People’s Congress, the country’s top legislature, on May 22 in Beijing that China will not this year set annual economic growth targets as it used to since 1994. This is the first time the government has omitted giving an annual growth target for gross domestic product (GDP).  He has, instead, prioritised the goals of stabilising employment, alleviating poverty and preventing risks in 2020, but again, without mentioning the target dates as it used to do in the past.  The budget deficit is slated to rise to 3.76 trillion yuan (US$ 529 billion) this year, 36% higher than in 2019, while the target for the deficit as a percentage of GDP will increase to “more than 3.6%” from last year’s 2.8%, exceeding the 3% threshold which has long been seen by policymakers as a red line that must not be crossed.

(Comment: The decision not to mention an annual GDP Growth target, or target dates for poverty alleviation, indicates the economic damage is far higher than being officially admitted by China. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang mentioned Xi Jinping as the "core" 13 times in his 9000-word Government Work Report. )

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