Chinese Premier Li Qiang warned today, Monday, that it will be difficult for China to meet its growth target of “about 5 percent” this year, one of the lowest levels of growth in decades for the world’s second economic power.

“I’m afraid it won’t be easy to achieve the 5% growth target, and it will take a lot of effort,” Li Qiang said at his first press conference since his appointment as prime minister on Saturday.

This target represents one of the lowest levels of GDP growth in forty years for the Chinese giant, though higher than most major economies.

China saw growth of 3% in 2022, far from the original target of 5.5%, driven by health restrictions and a real estate crisis that have severely impacted economic activity.

For nearly three years, the Chinese authorities have implemented a strict health policy known as the “Covid Zero” policy, which has protected the population from the Covid-19 epidemic, but has dealt a severe blow to the economy with factory and company closures and movement restrictions.

These measures were lifted in December.

Growth in China has also been hit by a crisis in the real estate sector, which, together with construction, accounts for more than a quarter of China’s GDP.

Since 2020, the real estate sector has been suffering from a tightening of credit conditions for development companies, with measures being taken to support lending to some developers.

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