China will try hard to achieve the best possible results for the economy this year, state media said on Thursday after a high-level meeting of the ruling Communist Party, in contrast to previous calls to meet its full-year economic growth target.

In the second half of 2022, China should "stabilise employment and prices, maintain economic operations within a reasonable range, and strive to achieve the best possible results," state-run Xinhua news agency reported, after the 25-member Politburo chaired by President Xi Jinping met to assess the economy.

China is widely expected by analysts to miss its 2022 economic growth target, of around 5.5%, for the first time since 2015, with its $18 trillion economy battered this year by extensive COVID curbs including full lockdowns of cities like Shanghai.

Gross domestic product in the first half grew only 2.5% from a year earlier, pointing to huge pressure in the second half, amid fears of a global recession, uncertainties from the Ukraine war and worries of any recurring COVID lockdowns.

Xi, at the opening of a BRICS forum on June 22, said China would take more measures to achieve its annual economic goals while minimising the impact of its COVID-19 prevention and control as much as possible.

But during an inspection tour in the central city of Wuhan on June 28, he said China will "strive to reach a relatively good level of the economic development this year".

Similarly, last week, Premier Li Keqiang said at the World Economic Forum that China will "strive for relatively good results in economic development for the whole year". (Reporting by Ryan Woo and Ellen Zhang; editing by Philippa Fletcher)