May 22, 2020 / 1:29 AM / 2 days ago

CORRECTED-China omits GDP goal, pledges higher spending

(Corrects to say first time no GDP goal was set since 2002 in paragraph 2 of May 22 story )

BEIJING, May 22 (Reuters) - China refrained from setting a 2020 GDP growth target and pledged to step up spending and financing to support its economy, according to Premier Li Keqiang’s work report released on Friday at the start of the annual parliament meeting.

It marked the first time that China did not set a gross domestic product (GDP) goal since 2002.

The Chinese economy contracted 6.8% in the first quarter from a year earlier, shrinking for the first time in decades, as the outbreak of the new coronavirus paralysed production and hit spending.

China’s top leaders have promised to step up policy stimulus to bolster the virus-ravaged economy amid rising worries that job losses could threaten social stability. (Reporting by Kevin Yao, Judy Hua, Stella Qiu, Yawen Chen and Ryan Woo Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

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