China is aiming to expand its economy between 6.5 percent and 7 percent in 2016, while keeping consumer inflation about 3 percent, Premier Li Keqiang said in remarks prepared for delivery at the opening of the annual meeting of parliament in Beijing Saturday.


The government is also targeting annual growth in broad M2 money supply of around 13 percent and a budget deficit of 3 percent of gross domestic product in 2016, Li said in the work report.

Weighed down by sluggish demand at home and abroad, industrial overcapacity and faltering investment, China’s economic growth slowed to 6.9 percent in 2015, its weakest in a quarter of a century, and economists widely expect it to cool further to around 6.5 percent this year.

Some China watchers believe real growth levels are already much weaker than official data suggest.

China’s leaders had been widely expected to target economic growth at between 6.5 percent and 7 percent this year, setting a range for the first time because policymakers are uncertain about the economy’s prospects.