HONG KONG, July 29 (Reuters Breakingviews) – The first rule of growth target is you dont talk about growth target. At Thursdays meeting of the political bureau of the Chinese Communist Partys Central Committee, officials re-committed to plan A: Covid-19 eradication, sustained pressure on the real estate sector, plus the usual anodyne commitments to improving credit support, defusing financial risk, and boosting domestic demand and entrepreneurship. To quote Greta Thunberg, blah blah blah. Those who expected a clear signal that the government is abandoning its goal of expanding the economy 5.5% this year might be disappointed, but its clear that pandemic control comes first.

This reinforces the argument that the Party is running low on ingenuity. read more The aspiration to boost consumer demand is contradicted by the commitment to rolling lockdowns. Continued suppression of real estate, an industry that drives an estimated quarter of economic activity, will offset stimulus in other areas, but the government has yet to specify how exactly it will put a floor under the sector. Promising to achieve mutually contradictory goals without tradeoffs makes good politics, not policy. (By Pete Sweeney)

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