China details measures to boost consumption for upcoming holiday
A supermarket in east China's Jiangsu Province, February 7, 2021. /CFP

A supermarket in east China's Jiangsu Province, February 7, 2021. /CFP

China's top economic planner has released a notice aimed at boosting consumption as the Spring Festival holiday approaches while maintaining precise COVID-19 control.

The measures are aimed at meeting residents' growing consumer demand, to further release the potential of consumer spending and push for a stable start to the economic growth in the first quarter, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said.

Multiple measures should be taken to meet residents' festive needs, including ensuring the supply of daily necessities, providing more contactless services and helping senior citizens enjoy convenient transportation to reunite with their families, said the notice.

It also set out policies to upgrade online festival consumption and expand consumption in rural areas.

Consumption related to the ice-and-snow industry, as well as culture and entertainment, should be encouraged, the notice said, adding that the vitality of the smart retail sector should be further supported.

Wang Dan, chief economist of Hang Seng Bank China, labeled consumption as the "biggest bottleneck" for this year.

She voiced concerns that consumption has been difficult to reboot, especially in small cities.

"The most direct way to revive consumption is to subsidize consumers," Wang wrote in an analytic piece on CGTN earlier this month.

The NDRC on Sunday also said it supports the healthy development of the property market and the legitimate demand from home buyers while asking local governments to step up oversight of unfair competition and other monopolistic behaviors over the holiday period.

In 2022, China will utilize its microeconomic policies to stimulate the vitality of market entities and deepen the supply-side structural reform with focus on smoothing the circulation of the national economy, said the tone-setting Central Economic Work Conference in December 2021.

(With input from agencies)

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