China's leaders to hold key meeting on economic reform in November

Party meeting in November to discuss deepening economic reforms on mainland

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 28 August, 2013, 3:01am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 28 August, 2013, 4:48am

China’s Communist Party leaders will hold a key meeting in November to discuss deepening reforms to set the country’s economic agenda for the next decade, announcing the date as fresh evidence emerged the world’s second-biggest economy was stabilising after a two-quarter slowdown.

The meeting will mark the third time China’s elite 200-member Central Committee has gathered since a leadership transition last year, though political reform is not expected to be a major talking point.

Historically, such meetings, known as third plenums, have been a springboard for key economic change in the mainland. One such session, in the 1990s, spawned sweeping economic reforms introduced by then-premier Zhu Rongji.

President Xi Jinping is likely to use his first such meeting since taking the role in March to push ahead with his agenda to reform the structure of the economy. He is looking to wean it off a reliance on exports, credit and investment and towards more consumer-driven growth.

News of the meeting, announced by Xinhua, came as data showed mainland industrial-profit growth rebounded last month.

Net income rose 12 per cent from a year earlier after gaining 6.3 per cent in June, the statistics bureau said in Beijing yesterday. Power, telecommunications, and car manufacturing contributed to the increase, while coal miners’ profits slid.

The data adds to higher-than-forecast industrial production in July, a rebound in trade, and a stronger reading for a manufacturing index released last week.

“This is another indicator that helps to paint a positive picture for the near-term growth outlook,” said Barclays economist Chang Jian, adding that she was cautious about the medium term as the nation grappled with industrial overcapacity, declines in export competitiveness, property oversupply and risks for the financial system.

Vice Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao said the mainland’s economy was shifting gears in terms of its growth rate, while going through “painful” economic restructuring and digesting the effects of past domestic stimulus measures.

Economic growth on the mainland has averaged in excess of 10 per cent each year for most of the last three decades, but a structural slowdown designed to give Beijing a window to push through reforms is set to result in economic expansion in 2013 at its slowest pace in 23 years. 

Premier Li Keqiang will achieve his 7.5 per cent growth target this year, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists this month.

Reuters and Bloomberg