As Chinese Communist Party Leaders gather for the National People's Congress (NPC) on Friday, they will likely reinforce a key theme highlighted in this week's developments and data: reforms.
The annual meeting is China's biggest political event and primarily serves as a rubberstamp to the annual budget and various government reports. This year, the ten-day review also coincides with the approval of the next Five-Year Plan, the official economic blueprint for 2016-2020.
The biggest takeaway from the NPC traditionally tends to be the Party's annual gross domestic product (GDP) target, expected at 6.5 to 7 percent for 2016 from 7 percent last year.
"Doubtless Western economists will pore over whether the headline rate of growth is 6 or 6.5 percent,' said Mark Tinker, head of Framlington Equities Asia. "But this really is to miss the point, which is one of ongoing reform."
Indeed, the recent weakness in February factory activity data and a downward revision in China's ratings outlook from Moody's have resurfaced the urgency for Beijing to undertake structural reforms to bolster an economy growing at its slowest pace in 25 years and stabilize volatile capital markets.
"Uncertainty about the authorities' capacity to implement reforms to address imbalances in the economy given the scale of reform challenges," was one of Moody's criteria for lowering its outlook on China's Aa3 rating to negative from stable. Ratings could be slashed further if tangible progress isn't made, Moody's warned.