According to the Wall Street Journal, Chinese leader Xi Jinping wants his country’s economic growth to beat the U.S. growth this year.

During meetings with economic and financial officials in recent weeks, Xi stressed the importance of growth and stability of China’s economy to show that the Chinese political system is better than the West’s.

The U.S. economy grew faster than China’s economy in the fourth quarter of 2021, at 5.5% year-on-year compared with China’s 4.0%.

Reuters reported that Chinese government agencies would step up their plans to boost growth in response to Xi’s call. Industries such as infrastructure construction, technology, transportation, energy, and water resources are prioritized.

These agencies also discuss issuing coupons to individuals to stimulate consumer spending.

Xi’s order came in the middle of major cities in China that have implemented the “Zero-Covid” strategy to contain the coronavirus from wide-spreading.

As reported by the Wall Street Journal, experts are skeptical about the Chinese leader’s goal as the country’s COVID restrictions could hurt consumer spending and industrial production. In addition, China’s property market is still struggling, and export demand is fading.

The restrictions have disrupted business activities as local and foreign-invested firms have to suspend their operations.

The lockdown has caused Shanghai port to be piling up with cargo, as Shanghai has been under tight lockdown measures for weeks.

As Beijing reported a surge in COVID cases on Monday, investors feared that China’s strict restrictions could hit China’s economic growth and companies’ incomes.

Economists also adjusted their forecasts for China’s GDP growth.

Last week, the International Monetary Fund cut China’s growth forecast to 4.4% for 2022.

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