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Plan for fresh measures to boost consumption

CHINA is planning a fresh economic stimulus package to boost consumption although first-quarter economic figures were better than expected, a senior official at a government think tank said in comments published yesterday.

The central government is drafting guideline policies and will continue to use fiscal and taxation policies to spur economic growth, the China Securities Journal said yesterday, citing Gao Huiqing, a senior researcher at the State Information Center which is affiliated with the National Development and Reform Commission under the State Council, China's Cabinet.

The economic data for the first three months of this year were "better than our projections," said Gao.

But he also noted that the better economic performance in the first quarter could be short-lived as the strong market demand for housing and automobiles may not be sustained.

Earlier media reports said that the State Council will meet tomorrow to discuss a new stimulus package, which will focus more on social welfare spending and on boosting consumer consumption.

Premier Wen Jiabao said on Saturday that China will closely monitor the changing economic situation at home and abroad and hammer out new responses when necessary.

Wen also said that some sectors of China's economy were "in a process of gradual recovery," citing improved investment, trade and industrial output figures. China's industrial production rose 8.3 percent in March, against an increase of 3.8 percent in January and February on a combined basis.

China was studying new taxation and fiscal policies to support its struggling exporters as external demand continues to stay weak, Deputy Commerce Minister Jiang Yaoping said early this month.

China would boost trade financing for smaller exporters, Jiang said.


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