China to take steps to boost domestic consumption this year: state planner

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s state planner said on Wednesday that the government will implement measures to further boost domestic consumption this year.

China will boost the incomes of urban and rural residents, and domestic consumption is expected to continue to expand and to upgrade, said Ning Jizhe, vice chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

Private consumption is a key driver of China’s economy, which grew at the slowest pace in almost three decades last year on a mix of domestic and global factors including its trade war with the United States.

At the opening of China’s annual meeting of parliament on Tuesday, Premier Li Keqiang said the government aims to expand the economy by 6.0 to 6.5 percent this year. The economy grew 6.6 percent in 2018.

China is confident of meeting its economic growth target in 2019, NDRC Chairman He Lifeng said.

He and Ning were speaking at a news conference on the sidelines of China’s annual meeting of parliament.

Reporting by Kevin Yao; Writing by Ryan Woo; Editing by Jacqueline Wong