China’s National People’s Congress kicks off this weekend, and investors will be watching for the standard numbers released at this major parliamentary session.
They also hope to hear more about developments that could have a bearing on international companies in China.
Expect more tea-leaf reading as political jockeying continues before a major leadership reshuffle at the 19th Communist Party Congress in the fall.
Premier Li Keqiang will deliver the government work report, China’s version of the State of the Union address on Sunday. The report is a blueprint for the country’s economic policy in 2017. It will reveal the annual growth target that most economists believe will be “around 6.5 percent.”
The language describing the number will be important since “around” will send a signal to many analysts that Beijing is willing to see growth slow below 6.5 percent as opposed to the target range of 6.5 percent to 7 percent in 2016.
The consumer inflation target is expected to stay the same as last year at 3 percent. The budget deficit forecast will likely be at the level of 2016 at 3 percent of GDP, though some analysts believe it could be larger. The defense budget, which will be unveiled at the event’s news conference on Saturday, is expected to see a bigger jump from 2016 when the budget rose at its slowest pace since 2010. Maritime security in the South China Sea will probably get a special mention.
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