China policy steps this year exceed those of 2020 - state media cites premier

National People's Congress (NPC) opening session in Beijing
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang delivers his work report at the opening session of the National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China March 5, 2022. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

BEIJING, Aug 29 (Reuters) - The strength of China's policy measures to support the economy so far this year has exceeded those of 2020, state media quoted Premier Li Keqiang as saying on Monday.

The government has unveiled a series of policies this year to support the COVID-ravaged economy.

"This year, in response to new challenges, we decisively launched a package of policies and follow-up policies to stabilise the economy, with the strength exceeding 2020," Li was quoted as saying.

Last week, the cabinet announced 19 new policies, including raising the quota on policy bank financing tools by 300 billion yuan ($43.4 billion). That was on top of a package of 33 measures unveiled in May.

Beijing will seek to cut red tape, stabilise employment and prices, and keep economic operations within a reasonable range, Li said.

China's economy narrowly escaped a contraction in the June quarter. Economic activity rebounded that month but slowed in July, raising pressure on policymakers to step up support.

With no sign that the government is planning to ease its tough "zero-COVID" policy, some private economists expect the economy to grow by about 3% this year, which would be the slowest since 1976 - excluding 2020's 2.2% expansion during the initial COVID outbreak.

($1 = 6.9165 Chinese yuan renminbi)

Reporting by Kevin Yao and Beijing newsroom; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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