They also pledged to aid businesses and protect their interests. Image Credit: AP

Beijing: China’s top officials pledged stronger monetary and fiscal stimulus for the economy and support for private businesses as Beijing shifts away from controlling Covid infections toward boosting growth.

Top leaders including President Xi Jinping said at the conclusion of the Central Economic Work Conference they will pursue an active fiscal policy and “forceful” monetary policy, according to state broadcaster CCTV. They also pledged to aid businesses and protect their interests.

On the housing market, which is in its longest-ever slump, officials said they will ensure stable growth and meet the reasonable financing needs of the sector. They reiterated the property sector’s business model needs to change and repeated the official slogan that “housing is for living, not for speculation,” a phrase that’s been mentioned at every meeting since 2018.

The annual work conference comes at a crucial time for the economy after the government’s abrupt dropping of its Covid Zero restrictions injects more uncertainty about the growth outlook.

Officials at the meeting also agreed to:

The meeting brings together members of the Politburo, the Communist Party’s top decision-making body, provincial governors, and chiefs of government agencies and financial institutions. The officials discuss economic goals for the coming year, including a target for gross domestic product, although the specific policies won’t be disclosed until March, when the national legislature meets.

The Politburo last week signaled a strong pro-growth shift in its policy stance, vowing to turn the economy around in 2023. Economists say more fiscal and monetary support will be needed to achieve that goal, along with further easing of restrictions in the real estate market.