China has set a target of creating 9 million new urban jobs, and putting the pedal on breakneck investment to curb its annual consumer price index rise within 3 percent in 2004.
To augment Premier Wen Jiabao's government work report to the National People's Congress on Friday, State Council's minister of development and reform commission Ma Kai told deputies on Saturday that it is necessary to maintain a minimum economic growth rate of 7 percent this year, as compared to last year's staggering 9.1%, in order to keep the urban registered jobless rate below 5 percent.
As alarm bells ring big that the world's sixth largest economy may already witness signs of inflation, Minister Ma Kai said that the administration will rein on over-extended loan issuance and put cool water on some overheated sectors, including steel, cement and real estate. CPI (consumer price index), a major gauge of an economy's inflation level, rose less than 2 percent last year.
Outlining other economic targets, Ma said China would work to "perfect the exchange rate mechanism" of the yuan while keeping the currency at a ``rational and balanced level''.
China, the world's fifth largest trading power, also trimmed its 2004 foreign trade growth rate to 8 percent. Last year, China's exports jumped nearly 35 percent. Imports soared almost 40 percent. Trade, a main engine leading the huge populous country's economic growth, has kept rising at double digits for many years.
The official jobless rate would be about 4.7 percent. That compares to 4.3 percent last year and would be the latest in a series of rises.