China promised Friday to throw 3.6 trillion yuan ($500 billion) at its economy this year in extra stimulus measures as part of a bid to create 9 millions jobs and blunt the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said China would not be able to set a target for growth in the world’s second biggest economy for 2020 because of the “great uncertainty” caused by Covid-19 and “the world economic and trade environment.” But he pledged a much more aggressive fiscal response to the crisis,funded by a big increase in government borrowing.
This is the first time in decades that China has not set a growth target for its economy. Last year, Beijing targeted growth in the range of 6% to 6.5%. GDP grew 6.1%, its slowest pace in nearly 30 years.
The coronavirus pandemic and a weeks-long shut down throughout much of China dealt a historic blow to the country’s economy. GDP shrank 6.8% in the first quarter, the first contraction that Beijing has reported since 1976.