BEIJING — China’s central government will aim for 7.5 percent economic growth this year, a steady pace that is just slightly slower than last year.
In his opening address to the annual session of China’s National People’s Congress on Wednesday, Premier Le Keqiang told the legislative body that the central government would target 7.5 percent growth in gross domestic product this year, while aiming to contain inflation at 3.5 percent or less.
China’s economy grew by 7.7 percent last year, continuing an ongoing trend of slowed expansion amid a more difficult international economic climate. The targeted growth rate for 2014 would be the lowest rate of expansion for China’s economy since 1999.
In his speech, Li promised that China would move forward with broad economic reforms as the world’s second-largest economy transitions away from one heavily dependent on manufacturing. In the short-term, new economic measures will include a broader currency band and possible interest-rate reforms.
“China’s reform has entered a critical stage and deep water zone,” Li said. “In carrying out reform, we need to focus on areas where the public call for reform is strongest, the most pressing problems hindering economic and social development, and links on which there is extensive public consensus.”
Specifically, Li noted, the government will target areas that encourage the development of market economics and stable employment. Li said in his speech that the government will hold national unemployment to 4.6 percent or less, but China’s total unemployment numbers are opaque and often difficult to gauge. Overall, the central government’s budget this year will total $219 billion, with a deficit rate of 2.1 percent.
Li’s speech, which marks the start of the weeklong session of the congress, often characterized as a rubber-stamp legislature, also focused heavily on the ongoing drive for China to become a consumer-based economy. He said the national government would continue to push domestic consumption as a critical component of economic growth.
“Boosting domestic demand is both a major force driving economic growth and an important structural adjustment,” said Li. “We need to fully leverage the basic role of consumption and the key role of investment…stimulate both supply and demand, and establish a permanent mechanism for increasing domestic demand.”
At the same time, China’s leaders are pushing to tamp down ingrained institutional corruption, often a major driver of spending. Li did not address the anti-corruption push at great length in his speech, but there is little doubt it will continue in the coming year.
Li said all governmental levels in China must abide by three rules: no new construction or expansion of government buildings; a total reduction in government employees, and a reduction in the amount of spending on official visits overseas, official vehicles and “official hospitality.”
“Governments at all levels must practice economy, eliminate waste and tighten their belts,” said Li.
The premier also spoke in more general terms about increasing environmental protection and cleanup, educational and social security reform.
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Dominique Maître)
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
Not only does #TheProfit return to CNBC tonight, but @marcuslemonis has launched @shopmarcus, a new shopping and lifestyle retail experience in Aspen and Chicago, with more locations to come. The retail stores offer in-store stylists and a variety of contemporary womenswear selections.
“It’s life, I’m going to face it,” @mingxi11 sighed. “I fell, but you know, I think the most important thing is that I get back up. I had the love, the help from my sister — the girl next to me Gizele [Oliveira] — she’s so nice. When I went backstage everybody was trying to comfort me like ‘Oh Ming, it’s OK.’ I’m really, really touched. I think it’s them who gave me the courage to go back on stage for the finale,” Xi told WWD of her fall at the @victoriassecret fashion show. (📷: David Fisher) #wwdfashion #vsfashionshow #victoriassecret
@louisvuitton tapped @therealpeterlindbergh for its latest city-centric photo book, which is part of a series called Fashion Eye. The primarily black and white book captures the spirit of Berlin in 57 images shot between 1989 and 2019. “Berlin is an inspiration for me, more than a city. I mean @millajovovich is simply Berlin!” said Lindbergh. #wwdfashion
“You know, I think audiences expect a certain performance so I have to deliver to them what they’re expecting to a certain degree. But I’m also a different actor and a different person, I have my own spin on the character,” says @noahegalvin of his takeover of the leading role in “Dear Evan Hansen” following the departure of @bensplatt, who originated the role. Read WWD’s interview with the 23-year-old actor on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
For pre-fall 2018, @etro created richly-colored wonderland, using tapestries, textiles and wallpapers from the Eastern world at large. The line featured floral and graphic prints and jacquard motifs, like this two-piece look featured here. #wwdfashion (📷: Giovanna Pavesi)
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)