China's top leaders start annual economic meeting: Xinhua

China World Trade Center Tower III (L) and China Zun Tower under construction are pictured behind a Chinese flag in Beijing's central business area, China December 14, 2017. REUTERS/Jason Lee

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s top leaders have started an annual meeting to map out economic and reform plans for 2018, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Monday.

The closed-door Central Economic Work Conference is keenly watched by investors for clues on policy priorities and key economic targets for the year ahead.

The meeting will focus on implementing agendas laid out by a key Communist Party Congress in October, Xinhua said without giving further details.

At a Politburo meeting earlier this month, top leaders pledged to deepen structural reforms and curb risks while maintaining steady economic growth in 2018.

Key economic targets for 2018 are likely to be set during the top-level meeting, but are not expected to be announced until the annual parliament meeting in March.

Policy sources have told Reuters that China’s leaders are likely to maintain this year’s growth target of “around 6.5 percent” in 2018, even as they ratchet up efforts to control systemic risks from a rapid build-up of debt in the world’s second-largest economy.

Xinhua said the meeting began on Monday, but it did not say when the conference would end.

Sources said the meeting was likely to end on Wednesday.

Reporting by Beijing Monitoring Desk and Kevin Yao; Editing by Jacqueline Wong