China sets slightly lower annual GDP growth target - government report

FILE PHOTO: People walk at the Beijing's central business district (CBD), on the day of the opening session of the National People's Congress (NPC) in Beijing, China March 5, 2021. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang

BEIJING (Reuters) - The Chinese government on Sunday set a slightly lower annual economic growth target compared with last year’s goal, as the world’s second-biggest economy began to emerge from three years of severe COVID-19 restrictions.

China has set its 2023 growth target for its economy at around 5%, according to a government work report released at the opening of the country’s annual meeting of parliament on Sunday. That compares with its 2022 target of around 5.5%.

The Chinese economy expanded 3% last year, significantly missing the 2022 target and marking one of the slowest rates of growth in almost half a century.

A 2023 government budget deficit target of 3.0% of gross domestic product has been set, according to the report, widening from a deficit goal of around 2.8% last year.

In the report, China has set a 2023 target of around 3% for its Consumer Price Index (CPI), unchanged from its 2022 target. The CPI rose 2.0% last year.

Reporting by Beijing Newsroom; editing by Jonathan Oatis