South China Morning Post:
Based on your prediction, given that the data released on the first quarter reflected a considerable impact caused by the coronavirus pandemic, will the second quarter mark the tipping point of China's economy? Moreover, will China abrogate setting a specific GDP growth target this year? How will you respond to the International Monetary Fund (IMF)'s latest forecast in which the economic growth in China is estimated to plummet to 1.2% this year? Thank you.
I would like to answer the third question first. Recently, with the spread of the pandemic and the performance of the global economy, the IMF has substantially lowered its growth forecast, indicating that the world economy may contract by 3% on average. However, China, estimated to maintain a 1.2% growth, is among the few major economies to continue developing with positive growth. Meanwhile, I have also noted that the IMF forecasts China's economy to grow by 9.2% in 2021. The growth, from my point of view, will still average out at above 5% for the two years combined. We can also consider that next year, the Chinese economy will better unleash its activities and compensate losses incurred by the pandemic.
Regarding whether the tipping point will emerge in the second quarter, economic operations greatly improved in March compared to the prior two months, providing a fundamental judgment. The momentum of sound economic recovery in March can be continued, as the basic trend in the economy can play a much better role in the second quarter with the adoption of more influential policies as well as the efficient and orderly resumption of work and production. In addition, if the pandemic can be effectively controlled around the world, the economy in the next half-year should be better than it was in the first half. Our goal is to secure smooth economic operations and social stability throughout the year.
Regarding your concern about the annual growth target, this is always released by the government work report that is delivered during the two sessions (the annual meetings of the National People's Congress and the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference). To better control the pandemic, the sessions have been postponed this year. As a result, we know nothing specific about the rate right now. Thank you.