March 2018
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International News
Fundamentals of China's economy are sound: Chinese Premier
(Beijing, Mar 20, 2018): Playing down global concerns on systemic financial risks being faced by China, Premier Li Keqiang today said the fundamentals of the world's second largest economy are "sound".

China is capable of forestalling systemic financial risks, Li told his annual press conference here ruling out the possibility of such risks in the country.

"The fundamentals of the Chinese economy are sound and the financial sector is stable," Li said in customary press conference at the conclusion of the annual session of China's national legislature.

He also said China aims to generate more than 13 million new urban jobs this year to ensure stable job placement for over eight million fresh graduates this year.

The minimal target is 11 million, but the government will work hard to reach the bigger goal, Li said.

Over the past five years, more than 66 million new urban jobs have been created, Li said, adding that employment has always been an important thing not only for each family, but for governments at all levels.

Li was re-elected for second five-year term by the National People's Congress (NPC) after his candidature was endorsed by President Xi Jinping last week.

Li said at least three million new rural migrant workers will seek jobs in cities in 2018.

"It is the responsibility of the government to provide stable job opportunities for these people," he said.

China has around 280 million rural migrant workers in cities, who have played important roles in the country's urbanisation drive, Li noted.

This year, there will be a record 8.2 million college graduates, five million graduates from secondary vocational schools and nearly one million demobilised military personnel and workers affected by the cut of overcapacity, Li said.

China has downsized 2.3 million strong army by demobilising three lakh troops.

"We must work very hard to ensure there will be jobs for these people, and do our best to avoid zero-employment families," Li said.

Li also said China has the ability to pay pension benefits to over 200 million pensioners in time and in full.

The balance of the country's pension funds stands at 4.1 trillion yuan ( USD 645 billion), he said.

"We have more revenue than expenditure. We also have 1.8 trillion-yuan social security fund as a strategic reserve", he said and announced measures to further improve the government's pension payment ability.

"We should have the confidence in the future," he said. "It is our responsibility... After all, it will be very disappointing if decades of hard work cannot earn one decent retirement," he said.

The state-run Xinhua news agency reported in January that the balance of local government debt stood at a whopping 16.5 trillion yuan (USD 2.6 trillion) by the end of 2017.

But the government played down the risks, saying the debt limit is below the government ceiling of 18.8 trillion yuan.

President Xi Jinping has made tackling financial risk a priority over the next three years while the government has set up the Financial Stability and Development Commission to coordinate efforts to contain a possible crisis.(PTI)

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