The minister of the State Planning Commission said the mainland could achieve its target of 8 per cent economic growth this year despite the fall of the yen but warned much remains to be done. The comments by Zeng Peiyan, which took up most of the second page of yesterday's People's Daily plus the top story on the front page, were designed to convince sceptical investors the target is achievable. Many believe weak consumer demand at home and the regional crisis will prevent it reaching its goal. Mr Zeng said the weakening of the yen was a further blow to the region, with growth now sought from domestic demand. Each year in mainland cities, seven million people enter the job market and three million are laid off, leaving Beijing to try and create at least 10 million new jobs a year. Each percentage point of gross national product growth created 1.25 million jobs, the minister said. Fixed-asset investment growth this year would exceed 15 per cent, up from 10.1 per cent last year, Mr Zeng said. In the first quarter, fixed-asset investment rose 10.3 per cent and in the first five months 12.7 per cent, the report said. The central government has approved 72 large and medium-sized projects with 1.24 trillion yuan (about HK$1.15 trillion) in investment and feasibility studies are being conducted for 308 others with investment of 4.46 trillion yuan. Bank credit this year will increase by 100 billion yuan, of which 50 billion yuan will go to basic construction and 20 billion yuan to low-cost housing. Of this, 52.3 billion yuan has been dispersed. Mr Zeng said in the first five months investment in real estate rose 15.2 per cent compared to corresponding period last year, with investment in residential housing up 59.2 per cent and sales up 45.4 per cent. He quoted grain storage, power supply in rural areas, reforestation and other environmental projects as sectors where money must be spent.