Li stresses currency stability, rules out hard landing of economy

BEJING: China will continue its financial reform and will not seek to boost its economy through currency depreciation, Premier Li Keqiang has said.

He made the remarks during a meeting with a group of foreign experts in the Great Hall of the People here on Friday, China Daily reported.

“I can assure you that so long as China keeps up with its reform and opening-up policy, the economy will not take a hard landing, and the Chinese currency will not depreciate greatly,” he said, adding there was no foundation for a long-term decline in the value of the yuan.

He said this as Ted Tokuchi, economist and former managing director of CITIC Securities, raised concerns over the yuan’s exchange rate.

The People’s Bank of China, the central bank, adjusted the exchange rate of the yuan against the US dollar on Aug 11, lowering the yuan’s value by nearly 2 percent, the most in the past decade. This caused concerns the move was intended to boost Chinese exports.

China’s economic growth, as well as its restructuring, were among hot topics during the meeting, which was attended by 68 foreign experts and has become a regular event prior to the Chinese Lunar New Year, which falls on Monday this year.

Christopher A. Pissarides, a professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science and co-winner of the 2010 Nobel Prize for Economic Sciences, also suggested improving the labour market and urbanization process to boost the economy, which grew by 6.9 percent last year, the slowest rate in about two decades.

The premier blamed the world markets for China’s slower growth.
If it were not for the sluggish foreign trade, “our growth rate should be above 7 percent”, Li said.

Last year China saw its exports decline by 1.8 percent year-on-year, and imports drop by 13.2 percent.

Pissarides brushed aside voices questioning China’s economic health.

“I don’t really buy such kind of cynicism, because they do not have a grounded argument to prove their questioning,” he said.

Falk Hoehn, a German expert on industrial design and visiting professor at Hefei University, shared his views on education and innovation.

Hoehn met with the premier in October when Li and German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited the university.

“The premier has very good ideas on innovation, as it will be the new driving force for China’s economy,” he said.

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