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BEIJING (MNI) - The following are major takeaways from the briefing on
China's 2018 GDP given by Ning Jizhe, the director of the National Bureau of
Statistics, in Beijing on Monday.
- On infrastructure investment: The targets for infrastructure spending can
be expected to be stronger this year. They will be important to help balance
urban-rural development, revitalize the country side and bridge regional growth
differences. This will help boost consumption and increase rural spending.
Transportation systems linking the countryside, including major trunks, rail,
roads and subway, as well as public services such as access to hot water, are
still insufficient, lagging behind developed nations. China will also spend on
hydro projects and water supplies.
- On trade spat with the U.S.: China has seen "positive progress" in
negotiating with the U.S. on resolving the trade disputes. The trade dispute
starting in February 2018 has had some impact on the economy, although overall
it's manageable. Given global growth is slowing, while there may be fluctuations
in monthly or quarterly indicators, it's more critical to look at the whole-year
and trend. China believes that the trend for economic globalization and shared
understanding for multilateralism have not changed.
- On deflation risk: It's not accurate to say China faces deflation. In the
last 10 years China has only seen structural deflation in some years but no
overall deflation. Moderate price gains may continue to be expected in 2019. The
main reason for weak consumer and industrial prices last year was that supply
exceeds demand. China's agricultural supply is abundant. Q4 PPI's weakness was
also because of falling global commodity prices. China will apply policies
including supply-side reform to strive for supply-demand structural balance.
- On questions over the accuracy of 2018 4.9% unemployment rate: The
indicator applies to labor in cities and towns. In use for five years, it is in
accordance with international labor standard and representative. This is clear
if it's compared internationally.
- On news of layoffs by companies such as Foxconn: While there are such
cases of layoffs, there is also new investment capital flowing into China.
Multinational companies changing their global footprint will cause some workers
to transfer or seek reemployment. In many businesses there are also instances of
shortages of skilled, experienced and new-industry workers.
- On population growth slowing: China's population is growing, with more
than 15 million new-born babies this year. These children may spur consumption.
It's not necessary to be over-interpreting changes in China's population makeup.
There are still "population dividends," or a surplus of labor, to sustain
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