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China facing ‘challenges’ in reviving economy

BEIJING (AFP) – China is confronting “difficulties and challenges” to its recovery, Beijing’s leadership said, according to state media yesterday, as the world’s second-largest economy charts an uneven rebound from the pandemic.

The annual closed-door meeting of Beijing’s top decision-makers – dubbed the Central Economic Work Conference – comes as China’s economy battles headwinds on multiple fronts, from waning consumer demand to a debt crisis in its property sector.

“China still has to overcome some difficulties and challenges to further revive the economy,” top leaders, including President Xi Jinping, noted at the meeting, state news agency Xinhua reported.

At the meeting which began on Monday and continued until yesterday, top officials “decided priorities for the economic work in 2024” and Xi gave a speech, Xinhua said.

“It was noted at the meeting that China’s economy has achieved a recovery,” the report said.

And according to the officials present, “favourable conditions outweigh unfavourable factors in China’s development”, state media reported. “The fundamental trend of the economic recovery and long-term positive outlook has not changed,” Xinhua quoted them as saying.

Last week, Xi warned the country’s economic recovery remained “at a critical stage”, and ordered measures to boost demand and “defuse” risks.

Exports rose in November for the first time in seven months, although the reading compared with a low base from last year when the impact of COVID was being felt the most.

Cyclists rest against the sunrise skylines in Pudong, China’s financial and commercial hub, in Shanghai. PHOTO: AP