The mainland yesterday wrapped up a key meeting intended to set the tone for next year with a call for 'stable, relatively rapid' economic growth. The annual economic conference unveiled an eight-point plan to govern the world's fastest-growing economy in 2006 - the first year of the mainland's 11th Five-Year Programme. It expressed a broad commitment to reform and a call for more balanced development. Analysts said the eight points covered policies already articulated by the government and details, including specific economic targets, should emerge at the National People's Congress session in March. Since taking office, President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao have called for the quality of growth to improve and for the growing income gap to be tackled. A string of environmental disasters, industrial accidents and incidents of social unrest have highlighted the need for change. In a statement carried by Xinhua at the close of the gathering yesterday, leaders pledged to maintain macroeconomic controls that were aimed at slowing blind growth. Under the eight-point plan, the government will promote domestic consumption to play a bigger role in supporting economic growth, while controlling fixed-asset investment. Both fiscal and monetary policy will remain stable. The meeting, organised by the Communist Party and the State Council - the national cabinet - pledged to raise incomes and create jobs, two pillars of mainland economic policy widely viewed as necessary to keep a lid on social unrest. The government should pay special attention to rural areas and poorer regions, which had been left behind in the economic boom. In another hallmark of the administration, leaders urged conservation of resources and environmental protection, as breakneck economic growth causes shortages of raw materials. A longer report by Xinhua last night sought to underline that the government would do more to help peasants and to raise their incomes. 'There are many difficulties ahead, such as raising incomes in rural areas,' said Yang Jianwen, an economist at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences. 'These problems have existed for years. China really wants to change its method of economic growth.' The official statement made no mention of changes to the yuan currency regime, though it expressed commitment to financial reform. The United States is pushing China to further revalue its currency, with some US lawmakers arguing the yuan's exchange rate is artificially low. The pace of China's economic growth is widely expected to slow next year after annual growth of more than 9 per cent for the past two years.