China to minimize impact of novel coronavirus on economy


Reference:CGTN | Updated: 24 February 2020

China is taking measures to minimize the impact of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on the economy, said the country's top economic planner on Monday.

Cong Liang, secretary-general of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), told a press conference that China is confident in overcoming COVID-19 and maintaining stable economic growth.

China's 2020 growth target 

Cong noted that COVID-19 has taken a toll on China's economy, but said the country is still capable of meeting this year's goals, set by the annual Central Economic Work Conference. 

Consumption during the Spring Festival holiday and related tertiary industries were affected, said Cong. Acknowledging the challenges for small and medium-sized enterprises in resuming production, Cong said the impact on the economy should be for the short-term and generally controllable. 

The Chinese government has recently been encouraging factories and companies to resume operation after weeks of break.

"Some 90 percent of major enterprises in eastern China's Zhejiang Province have resumed production. The same barometer in Jiangsu, Shandong, Fujian, Liaoning, Guangdong and Jiangxi provinces has surpassed 70 percent," Cong said.

China's mask production capacity utilization rate has now reached 110.3 percent, with some 70 percent of emergency grain processing enterprises and 76 percent of coal mine production capacity back to normal. Civil aviation, ports, and water transportation networks are operating normally, Cong stated. 

Additional measures

More targeted tax and fee cuts to bolster micro, small and medium-sized businesses will be rolled out to help companies ease the pressure on companies.

NDRC will also step up macro policy adjustments to actively expand domestic demands, push forward consumption recovery and bring into full play the critical role of effective investment.

In addition, stronger support should be lent to major sectors as well as medium and small enterprises, said Cong.

The country has been striving to offset the economic downsides incurred from the epidemic via a stream of growth boosting measures.

Liu Guoqiang, deputy governor of the People's Bank of China (PBOC), said last Saturday the central bank would continue to keep liquidity at a reasonable and ample level, push for reform of loan prime rate (LPR), China's new market-oriented benchmark lending rate, and lower borrowing costs to ease the financing strain for smaller companies. 

Chen Yulu, another deputy governor of the PBOC, said on Monday the bank will also level up the utilization of structural monetary policy tools and enable the country's three policy banks to better pull their weight. She called for dismissing concerns over more non-performing loans as a result of more support to small businesses.

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