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(LEAD) China targets 6.5-7 pct economic growth this year

All Headlines 11:52 March 05, 2016

(ATTN: ADDS details in paras 5-8)

BEIJING, March 5 (Yonhap) -- China set a range of 6.5 to 7 percent for its economic growth target this year as the world's second-largest economy is grappling with slower expansion, mounting debts and sluggish reforms.

It is the first time since 1995 that China has set a target range for its annual economic growth, which is down from last year's "around 7 percent" target.

China's economy grew 6.9 percent in 2015, marking the weakest expansion in 25 years.

The target was announced as China's rubber-stamp parliament opened its annual session.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, who is in charge of the Chinese economy, said that Beijing will strengthen "supply-side reforms" to meet the growth target.

In the face of a rapid economic slowdown, Chinese policymakers have focused on cutting overcapacity in the industrial sectors of coal, mining, aluminum and cement.

Li said China aims to create 10 million jobs this year.

China also aims to target average consumer inflation at around 3 percent this year, according to a report submitted to the annual session.

Earlier this week, Moody's Investors Service downgraded the credit-rating outlook of China to "negative" from "stable," citing rising government debts, declining foreign-currency reserves and uncertainty about Beijing's reform drive.

kdh@yna.co.kr
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