Liu Tienan, vice chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, restated the goal at a briefing in Beijing and said China has ‘the conditions’ and ‘the confidence’ to meet it.
Falling export demand has slowed China’s growth to the weakest pace in seven years, cost the jobs of 20 million migrant workers and prompted a RMB4 trillion (US$585 billion) stimulus plan.
Liu Tienan said the financial system was healthy, the nation’s economic fundamentals were unchanged, and the economy had shown some ‘positive signs.’
Morgan Stanley predicted last month that the growth target could be cut and Deputy Commerce Minister Zhong Shan said that it may be reviewed at the legislature’s annual meeting.
Ken Peng, an economist with Citigroup in Shanghai said. ‘Keeping growth at or near eight percent this year shouldn’t be that difficult with all the investment that is planned. If the trade environment remains horrible next year or even after, China will face more difficulties.’
Bloomberg reports Sun Mingchun, an economist with Nomura International said that the stimulus plan, running through 2010, may be doubled, creating an investment boom, as the central and provincial governments start extra spending programs.
The International Monetary Fund forecasts China’s economy will expand 6.7% percent in 2009 from a year earlier, the least since 1990. While China is the only one of the world’s five biggest economies still growing, the pace has slowed from 13%in 2007 and 9% last year.
The economy’s expansion was 6.8 % in the fourth quarter of last year as trade collapsed and the property market sagged. Overseas shipments fell 17.5 percent in January from a year earlier and imports declined 43.1 percent.
China is relying on the spending package through 2010, spanning public housing, railways, highways, airports, and power grids, to spur growth. The nation is committing about RMB1.2 trillion of central-government funds to the plan.
A 10-industry support package covers autos, steel, shipbuilding, textiles, light industry, nonferrous metals, logistics, petrochemicals, electronics, and machinery manufacturing.
A railway between Shanghai and Nanjing, a Xiamen-Zhangzhou cross-sea bridge, and a high-speed rail link between Datong and Yucheng in Shaanxi are among stimulus projects, according to a summary by Standard Chartered Bank.