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Global Times | Song Shengxia
Published on November 27, 2012 01:05

China is expected to hold its annual central economic work conference as early as next week. It is likely to set "quality" and "substantial growth" as the main themes of the next year's economic and social development and fix the economic growth goal for 2013 at around 7.5 percent, a researcher with China's top economic planning body said Monday.

The Central Economic Work Conference is typically held between late November and early December. But since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) was held in early November, this year's top-level economic conference will be held next month, possibly around December 7, Tian Yun, a researcher with the China Society of Macroeconomics (CSM) at the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), told the Global Times Monday.

An anonymous insider told the Global Times that the keynote report for the conference has been drafted and submitted to the State Council for review.

The keynote report of the 18th CPC National Congress has cast light on the likely main  themes for next year's economic growth. Unlike previous reports, it no longer prioritizes "speed" and "fast economic growth," Tian said.

According to Tian, seeking "substantial growth" and "quality" will replace previous ideas of "steady and relatively fast economic growth" as the focus of next year's economic development.

Last year's Central Economic Work Conference was held between December 12 and 14, 2011, setting the keynote for 2012's economic growth as "making progress while maintaining stability."

The economic growth goal for 2013 is likely to be set at between 7.5 percent and 8 percent at the conference, according to Tian.     

China set the annual growth target for 2012 at 7.5 percent during the conference of the national legislative and consultative bodies in March.

"In our view, both 7.0 percent and 7.5 percent GDP growth targets for 2013 are possible, but 7.5 percent is more likely to be announced in the coming Central Economic Work Conference which will be held in December," Lu Ting, a China economist with Bank of America Merrill Lynch said in a research note sent to the Global Times Monday.

According to Lu, China targets 7.0 percent average growth in 2011-15 and lis ikely to set the growth goal at around 7.0 percent in 2016-20.

"This target means that Beijing accepts the fact of slowing potential growth as currently China's growth is clearly above 7.0 percent and will make sure household income grows at the same pace or faster than GDP," Lu said.

At a meeting on Wednesday last week, Vice Premier Li Keqiang said China would no longer pursue GDP growth alone, and that as long as the country ensures annual growth of 7 percent, the goal of improved living standards by 2020 is easily reachable. The Party has vowed to double national incomes between 2010 and 2020.

The economy touched bottom in the third quarter, growing 7.4 percent year-on-year, the slowest growth since early 2009.

Economic recovery has been stabilizing in the fourth quarter, as evidenced by a raft of promising economic data released in the last two months.

A flash reading of China's Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), which measures manufacturing activity, rose to 50.4 in November from a final reading of 49.5 in October, the first expansion in 13 months, HSBC Holdings PLC said Thursday.

A report by investment bank China International Capital Corp also forecast China's growth target next year as 7.5 percent.

But the economy will rebound moderately to 8.1 percent in 2013 from this year's estimated 7.7 percent, powered by the acceleration of government-backed infrastructure investment, Peng Wensheng, chief economist with China International Capital Corp, said in a report sent to the Global Times Monday.