China says defence budget to rise to $173 billion in 2018

by Garry Watts March 6, 2018, 1:31
China says defence budget to rise to $173 billion in 2018

China kept its 2018 economic growth target at around 6.5 percent, Premier Li Keqiang said in remarks prepared for delivery at the parliament's opening session, the same as in 2017 despite the pick up in growth.

PBOC Deputy Governor Yi Gang told Bloomberg News the yuan is stable and decided by the market, in response to a question on whether a possible trade war between China and the US will put depreciation pressures on the currency.

China also refuted criticism that its multi-billion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) was a geo-strategic tool to spread its influence and said such a characterisation was a "misinterpretation".

A country's defence budget needs to fit the nation's economic development and national security, Zhang added.

Last year, experts of the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) claimed that in 2032, mainland China would likely overtake the U.S. as the world's largest economy in dollar terms.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang delivers a government work report at the opening meeting of the first session of the 13th National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, March 5, 2018.

Reinforcing views that Beijing's attention remains firmly fixed on credit risks and better quality growth, when Li unveiled the GDP target he omitted previous wording saying growth could be "higher if possible".

Another delegate from central Henan province said "Xi Jinping is great", but several other legislators refused to answer questions about the amendment.

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Steel producers in Canada, Brazil, Mexico, South Korea and Turkey rely far more heavily on the U.S. market. He also said China will improve supervision over shadow banking, internet finance and financial holding companies, and step up risk controls at financial institutions.

China beat forecasts in 2017 as the world's second grew by 6.9 per cent, picking up steam for the first time since 2010 despite a battle against massive debt and polluting factories. The defence budget of the USA which is the highest in the world amounted to United States dollars 602.8 billion.

Li also said China will keep its prudent monetary policy neutral, reaffirming authorities' position.

Li also said he expects reasonable growth in broad M2 money supply and total social financing this year, without stating a target.

TSF grew 12 percent a year ago, in line with the target, but M2 growth slowed to 8.2 percent, below the goal of around 12 percent.

China aims to maintain inflation level at around 3 per cent and create over 11 million new urban jobs, reports Xinhua news agency. ANZ had expected both targets to be set at 10 percent or lower this year.

The slide toward one-man rule under Xi, already China's most dominant figure of recent decades, has fueled concern Beijing is eroding efforts to guard against the excesses of autocratic leadership and make economic regulation more stable and predictable.

The announcement Monday came at a meeting of China's ceremonial legislature that is overshadowed by proposed constitutional changes that would allow President Xi Jinping to remain in power indefinitely.

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