China Won’t Have Large Stimulus This Year, Finance Minister Says

Chinese Finance Minister Lou Jiwei said the nation won’t use “large-scale fiscal stimulus” measures this year, adding to signals that the government will tolerate a slowdown in the economy.

China will promote growth and boost employment while fine-tuning policies and keeping the fiscal deficit unchanged, and will also avoid big adjustments to short-term macroeconomic policies, Lou said in July 11 comments in meetings with U.S. officials in Washington. The remarks were posted yesterday on the Finance Ministry’s website.

Premier Li Keqiang said this month that the nation should keep restructuring the economy as long as growth and employment stay above unspecified limits, even as a second-quarter slowdown in expansion increased risks that China will miss its 7.5 percent goal for the year. The government responded to the global financial crisis in 2008 with a 4 trillion yuan ($586 billion at the time) stimulus and a wave of bank lending.

“From a policy perspective, China won’t roll out large-scale fiscal stimulus policies this year,” said Lou, who became finance minister in March. China “will promote economic growth and job creation and fine-tune policies, while keeping the fiscal deficit size unchanged.”

Lou said in a press briefing at the Washington meetings last week that growth as low as 6.5 percent may be tolerable in the future. While the government in March set a 2013 growth goal of 7.5 percent, Lou said he’s confident 7 percent can be achieved this year.

The official Xinhua News Agency later amended its English-language report on Lou to say there’s no doubt that China can achieve this year’s growth target of 7.5 percent.

— With assistance by Scott Lanman

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