China can cut 2015 GDP growth target to 7%: World Bank

BEIJING (REUTERS) - China can afford to cut its 2015 economic growth target to 7 per cent and still keep its labour market healthy, the World Bank said on Tuesday, even as it urged Beijing to stop setting rigid growth objectives.

"Our policy message is the focus should be on reforms rather than meeting specific growth targets," Karlis Smits, a senior economist at the World Bank office in Beijing, told reporters at a press briefing. "A prevalent concern is that a policy focused on meeting an ambitious growth target, similar to one set for 2014, would require macroeconomic policies to remain oriented to support domestic demand rather than on reforms," it said.

China wants to grow its economy - the world's second largest - by around 7.5 percent this year, though many analysts expect annual growth to hit 7.4 percent, the lowest in 24 years.