On Tuesday, Jan. 25, the IMF published its World Economic Outlook. The IMF lowered China’s growth prediction to 4.8 percent from 5.6 percent, citing pandemic-related disruptions, the country’s zero-tolerance stance for Covid-19, and housing-related disruptions.

At a Tuesday briefing, Vice Finance Minister Xu Hongcai told reporters that general fiscal expenditure totalled 24.63 trillion yuan ($3.9 trillion USD), up 0.3 percent from the previous year, according to Bloomberg calculations based on the ministry’s data. It was the weakest growth rate since 2003, signaling limited financial support for an economy that has increased significantly in recent months.

More than half of the regions have recently established lower growth targets than before the Covid-19 epidemic, with developed areas and cities setting growth targets ranging from 5% to 6%. Zhejiang, Shaanxi, Jilin, and the other five provinces are at around 6%, Shandong, Guangdong, Jiangsu, Shanghai, Chongqing, and Heilongjiang are at about 5.5 percent, while Beijing is at approximately 5%.

Guo Lei, the chief economist of Guangfa Securities, said that based on recent experience, Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangdong’s annual targets strongly correlate to the national economic growth target. Zhejiang’s objective has been slightly higher than the national average in recent years.

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