China has sufficient policy tools to cope with economic pressure and will continue to take a series of measures to vitalize the market and economy amid the novel coronavirus pneumonia outbreak, according to the country’s top economic regulator.
Li Hui, deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission’s Department of National Economy, said the authorities will closely monitor the economic situation and promote the introduction and implementation of policies in a timely manner to hedge against the impact of the outbreak.
“China is ramping up efforts to minimize the impact of the outbreak and create a comprehensively well-off society,” Li said at a news conference on Tuesday.
“After taking a series of effective measures, the spread of the coronavirus has been basically curbed in China. And we’ve made sustained progress in epidemic prevention and control, which provides strong support for the economy getting back to normal.”
Li added that entrepreneurs’ confidence in the economy is holding steady and the international community also has full confidence in China’s economic development.
Last month, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said China’s economy is expected to “return to normal in the second quarter” this year due to the government’s effective measures.
Currently, major industrial companies outside of Hubei province have resumed work at a rate of more than 90 percent. And nearly all major industrial companies in Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Shandong provinces, the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, Chongqing and Shanghai have restarted production, according to the NDRC.
Li said the outbreak will result in temporary limited economic effects, and there are still many favorable conditions for China to achieve its economic and social development goals.
“China, the world’s second-largest economy, is capable of absorbing the short-term hit with a strong material and technological basis as well its very large market,” Li added. “And many sectors emerged as beneficiaries of the recent outbreak, including online shopping, fresh food e-commerce, online education, online medical services and telecommuting.”
In fact, the country has adopted a series of measure to fight the coronavirus outbreak and maintain social and economic stability.
“The Chinese economy is resilient with full vitality, plenty of industrial and agricultural products and a rapidly growing service industry, providing a firm basis for overall price stability,” said Peng Shaozong, deputy director of the NDRC’s Department of Price.
Peng said China’s consumer prices are unlikely to rise sharply. “As the epidemic prevention and control situation improves, China is stepping up efforts to restore order to production and life. And the rise in prices is expected to slow down,” Peng said at a news conference.
China’s consumer price index, a main gauge of inflation, rose 5.2 percent year-on-year in February, edging down from 5.4 percent in the previous month, National Bureau of Statistics data showed.
To stave off economic slowdown amid the coronavirus outbreak, the NDRC said it will speed up investment, with a key focus on addressing weak links, such as the emergency supplies reserve systems and public health services. And it will also accelerate the construction of a new round of infrastructure such as 5G networks and data centers.
On Tuesday, the NDRC also announced that the domestic refined oil product price will be substantially reduced starting on Wednesday, based on its pricing mechanism.
China will adjust the prices of oil products every 10 working days to better reflect changes in the global oil market, the NDRC announced.
The policy will help China enhance the quality of its crude oil, enhance energy security and protect itself against drastic fluctuations in international oil prices, it said.
Zheng Xin contributed to this story.