Leaders address China's lack of growth momentum

April 26, 2013 at 6:01 AM

BEIJING, April 26 (UPI) -- A lack of growth momentum is the most serious challenge facing China's economy, the country's top leadership warned.

At a meeting of the Communist Party's Politburo Standing Committee chaired by President Xi Jingping, the leaders took note of the first quarter's 7.7 percent growth in the gross domestic product year-on-year, down from the 7.9 percent in the last quarter of last year and lower than what many economists had predicted.

The committee blamed the absence of growth momentum partly on the sluggish global economy and flagging confidence over the recurrence of European sovereign debt crises, China Daily reported Friday. The committee said there is a need for gearing up the drive for growth and for stabilizing agriculture, preventing risks in public finance and tackling key weaknesses in environmental pollution as well as in food and drug safety.

Policymakers have said the country no longer can rely on exports to bring about a recovery.

In drawing up guidelines to address the lack of new growth engines, the Politburo said the country should maintain steady macroeconomic policies while being more flexible with microeconomic ones, the report said.

The committee decided to continue using government-financed public projects to boost growth while controlling the overall money supply. The leaders also called for new ways to boost consumer demand.

Economists have said the weaker-than-expected growth came as China pumped considerably more money into the economy in the first quarter, the report said.

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