Weak figures fuel policy easing bets
“Atargeted, moderate stimulus package may be seen in future to curb the economic slowdown,” he said.
Premier Li Keqiang has lowered 2015’s GDP target to around 7 percent, down from last year’s 7.5 percent. Last year, annual economic growth was 7.4 percent, or a 24-year low.
Xu Shaoshi, minister of the National Development and Reform Commission, said at a news conference at the annual National People’s Congress session that the economy had actually rebounded slightly in February after the deepened downturn in January.
“Some leading indexes, such as the Purchasing Managers Index, have shown slight improvements, indicating stable market expectations and rebounded confidence, which will have a positive effect on future economic growth,” he said.
In terms of month-onmonth growth, industrial output accelerated by 0.45 percent in February from January, and fixed-asset investment improved by 1.03 percent, according to the NBS.
CPI inflation picked up in February to 1.4 percent yearon-year, mainly because of a rise in food prices. The PPI decline deepened from 4.3 percent in January to 4.8 percent in February, the NBS showed.
The manufacturing PMI climbed to 49.9 in February from 49.8 in January, but still showed contraction in the sector.
he central bank has cut benchmark interest rates twice since November. It also reduced the amount of cash that banks must hold as reserves in early February, in order to increase market liquidityandoffset the increase of capital outflows.