President Xi Jinping is leading a top economic decision-making group, the latest sign he's further consolidating his powers.
Xinhua yesterday reported Xi presided over a meeting of the leading group of financial and economic affairs, and described him as its director. Earlier reports referred to Xi as its party secretary.
The group, which was formed in 1980, falls under the Communist Party's Central Committee.
The meeting heard that the nation should reform how it produces and consumes energy as demand rises and supply challenges mount.
"In the past the director position has been held by premiers," said He Keng, a former vice-chairman of the Financial and Economic Committee of the National People's Congress.
"The group is normally in charge of macroeconomic policies, relating to finance, currency and rural areas," He said.
"The appointment shows Xi will be calling the shots on significant economic policies," He said, while Premier Li Keqiang would act as an "executor". Li joined the meeting as vice-director, Xinhua said.
Xi told the meeting China faced "challenges including huge demand pressures, supply restraints, serious environmental losses caused by the production and consumption of energy and technological backwardness", Xinhua reported.
The nation needed to restrain unreasonable energy consumption and impose controls on overall use, it quoted the president as saying.
China is the largest consumer of energy in the world. It accounts for about half of global coal consumption and is expected to move from second-largest net importer of oil to the largest this year, according to a recent report by the US Energy Information Administration.
The party has established several new steering groups after a key party meeting in November to map out reforms.
Xi chairs them all - a National Security Commission that coordinates domestic and oversees security, a leading group on comprehensively deepening reforms, an internet security panel and a new steering group to tackle reform of the military.