Headline indices of the Mainland China equity market were tad higher in seesaw trade on Tuesday, 05 March 2019, as investor sentiment was dampened by news that China lowered its economic growth target for 2019 to a range of 6-6.5% from the 2018 target of around 6.5% and unveiled huge tax cuts. In late afternoon trade, the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index added 0.1%, or 3.43 points, to 3,031.01. The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on China's second exchange, rose 0.75%, or 11.96 points, to 1,611.44. The blue-chip CSI300 index fell 0.02%, or 0.77 points, to 3,793.33.
Premier Li Keqiang on Tuesday said the Chinese economy is likely to grow between 6% and 6.5% in 2019, lower than last year's 6.5%. The government also aims to increase its defence spending by 7.5% to CNY1.190 trillion for this year, compared with a planned 8.1% rise in 2018.
Delivering the annual government work report at the opening session of China's Parliament, the National People's Congress (NPC), Li said the government planned to create 11 million new jobs in 2019, the same as last year's target. According to reports, last year, China created 13.61 million new jobs. The government also aims to cap the urban jobless rate at 5.5% in 2019, unchanged from last year. In 2018, China's urban jobless rate stood at 4.9%. Referring to the slowing economy and the ongoing trade war with the US, Li said: A full analysis of developments in and outside China shows that in pursuing development this year, we will face a graver and more complicated environment as well as risks and challenges, foreseeable and otherwise, that are greater in number and size. In the context of the trade war, Li said China will continue to promote China-US trade negotiations.
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