Xi rallies support for economic reform strategy

BEIJING • Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for "unswerving efforts" to "resolutely push forward supply-side structural reform" amid strong headwinds for the world's second-largest economy, as reflected in easing economic indicators for April.

The reform is the key to the overall and long-term well-being of the Chinese economy, he told a meeting of the Central Leading Group for Financial and Economic Affairs on Monday.

The Chinese economy faces cyclical problems as well as challenges of scale, but the structural and supply-side problems are the most serious, he was quoted by China Central Television as saying.

"The main direction (of the reform) is to reduce ineffective supply, increase effective supply, and make the supply structure more fitting to the demand structure," Mr Xi said.

The market and government should both better play their roles to balance the reforms, he said.

Mr Xi made the comments following the publication of an article by the People's Daily on May 9 citing an "authoritative figure" who analysed the causes of China's economic woes and offered the prescription of supply-side reform.

On May 10, the People's Daily published the text of a speech that Mr Xi delivered to principal ministerial and provincial officials in January, when he had said that China's economic future will hinge on supply-side structural reforms.

"Xi's reiteration of supply-side structural reform reflects policymakers' judgment of the current situation," said Dr Dong Yuping, an economist at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. "Supply-side structural reform is the key to solving the problems facing the economy," he told China Daily.

China's economic growth dipped to 6.9 per cent last year, the slowest in 25 years. Although economic indicators showed a mild rebound in the first quarter, April data shows the momentum of recovery has slowed.

CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 18, 2016, with the headline 'Xi rallies support for economic reform strategy'. Print Edition | Subscribe