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China to push forward supply-side reform, says Xi


Reuters
BEIJING
China will push forward supply-side reform and increase the number of middle-income earners, state television quoted President Xi Jinping as saying on Monday, after economic data for April fuelled doubts about the economy's health.
Xi's speech to a meeting of top government economic regulators underscores the importance, and pressure, of managing China's economic shift as growth has cooled to 25-year lows.
Investment, factory output and retail sales in the world's second-largest economy all grew more slowly than expected in April. The main thrust is to reduce ineffective supply and increase effective supply, Xi said, according to the official Xinhua news agency.
The government has made reducing the capacity glut one of its top priorities, and has vowed to put"zombie" companies out of business. But economists expect authorities to move slowly to avoid a sharp jump in unemployment.
In some regions there had not been forceful action on government policies, Xi was quoted as saying by Xinhua. At the same time, some policies need to be further researched and drawn up.
For the state and society to remain stable over the long-term, the government must realise its goal of meeting people's needs and expanding the number of middle-income earners, he said.
China must push forward reform of state-owned enterprises, accelerate change in how government functions and deepen the fundamental reforms of pricing, taxation, finance and social insurance, said Xi.
The government must also improve China's income distribution system and strengthen people's property protections, he said.
Separately, China's State Council plans to encourage private investment, a major foundation of a stable economy, in part by removing hidden barriers, Xinhua said on Monday.
To that end, the State Council will send teams to government departments and provincial governments to inspect progress on promoting private investment, said Xinhua.

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