China: Authorities resort to fiscal stimulus to stem economic slowdown
June 14, 2012
The Chinese government has speeded up the approval of new investment projects in an attempt to fuel economic growth, as sluggishness in the global economy and a subsequent domestic slowdown have started to take their toll. The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) has already approved 868 large investment projects in the first four months of 2012, compared to just 363 in the same period last year. According to local media, the NDRC approved more than 100 projects on 21 May alone. The new investment approvals encompass most sectors, including clean energy, transport, industrial modernization and rural infrastructures. Moreover, on 16 May, the State Council granted consumption subsides of CNY 26.5 billion (USD 4.2 billion) to purchase household appliances and CNY 6 billion (USD 949 million) to buy fuel-saving vehicles. Analysts estimate that the new measures will amount to between CNY 1 trillion (USD 158 billion) and CNY 2 trillion (USD 316 billion). That said, the NDRC has ruled out the possibility of a new round of economic stimulus measures of the magnitude of those implemented in 2008/2009, when China launched a massive CNY 4 trillion stimulus package (around 10% of GDP).