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China pumps in another US$19b to stimulate economy

CHINA'S central government has launched a new stimulus plan totaling 130 billion yuan (US$19 billion) to boost its economy, an official of the National Development and Reform Commission said today.

The fund is the second batch of investment from the central budget following a 100 billion yuan allocated in the fourth quarter of 2008. Both were included in the country's 4 trillion yuan economic stimulus package announced in November.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said today the 130 billion yuan had been put in place in terms of real funds and on what projects the money will be spent during an interview with the London-based Financial Times.

China's economic growth slowed to 6.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008, dragging down the annual rate to a seven-year low of 9 percent, as the global financial crisis takes a toll on the national economy.

The government is hoping to bolster the slowing economy with huge investment from central government, followed by more from local governments and non-governmental sectors.

The commission official, who spoke to Xinhua this morning on condition of anonymity, confirmed the latest 130 billion yuan investment, but declined to unveil detailed plans of the investment before the commission's official announcement.

However, today's business newspaper 21st Century Business Herald rolled out specific plans with 28 billion yuan to provide housing for low-income earners and 31.5 billion yuan for public facilities, such as electricity, water and road construction in rural areas, citing an unidentified source.

The paper also said 17 billion yuan would go to health and education sectors, 11 billion yuan to environmental protection projects, 15 billion yuan to economic restructuring, and the remaining 27.5 billion yuan to unspecified big infrastructure projects.

Of the earlier 100 billion yuan, 10 billion yuan will be spent on housing projects for low-income families, 34 billion yuan on rural infrastructure projects, 25 billion yuan on large infrastructure projects such as railways, roads and airports, 13 billion yuan on grassroots health, education and cultural projects, 12 billion yuan on energy conservation and environment protection projects, and the remaining 6 billion yuan on innovation and industrial restructuring, the commission said.

The commission, or the country's economic planner, said in November that 1.18 trillion yuan would be arranged for investment from the central budget by the end of 2010, which it said would mobilize a total of 4 trillion yuan in investment across the country within two years.


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