December 11, 2014 / 11:36 AM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-China's 2015 monetary policy won't be too tight or loose - Xinhua

(Adds comment, detail)

BEIJING, Dec 11 (Reuters) - China’s monetary policy will not be too tight or too loose next year as authorities try to sustain a reasonable pace of growth in the economy, which faces considerable headwinds, state media cited the government as saying on Thursday.

The economy faces relatively big downward pressure in 2015, the Xinhua news agency cited the government as saying after its annual Central Economic Work Conference, where authorities chart the growth blue-print for the following year.

Investment will remain a key driver of growth as authorities ensure that exports, consumption and investment - also known as the three horse carriages for growth in China - play equal parts in powering the economy, Xinhua said.

“There will be greater focus on monetary policy being appropriately tight or loose,” Xinhua cited the government as saying as it reiterated that monetary policy will be kept “prudent” and fiscal policy “pro-active”.

Policies would be fine-tuned in a targeted way, Xinhua said, without further details.

The conference followed what had been a rocky year for China. Its annual economic growth is forecast to slip to a 24-year low of 7.4 percent as cooling domestic investment and a slowing housing market take their toll.

To stoke growth, the central bank surprised markets by cutting interest rates on Nov. 21 for the first time in more than two years.

But in a sign that a further cooling in the economy cannot be avoided, economists who advise the government have recommended that China lower its economic growth target to 7 percent in 2015 from this year’s 7.5 percent.

State media did not comment on next year’s growth target, which is likely to be announced at an annual parliament session in March, except to say that it should be set at a “reasonable” level.

“We should actively adapt to a ‘new normal’ in economic development and keep growth in a reasonable range,” Xinhua cited the government as saying.

China will also pursue change in several areas next year including reforming prices and monopolies, the government was quoted as saying.

Analysts at Shenyin and Wanguo Securities said the media reports suggested that more policy loosening in China was imminent.

“Even though there was no mention of further loosening, (policy) is without a doubt on the tight side,” the Chinese securities firm said in a note as it repeated its bet that China may cut rates by as many as three times in the next year. (Reporting by Koh Gui Qing and Shao Xiaoyi; Editing by Kim Coghill and Robert Birsel)

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