China to resist major stimulus package: Xinhua

AFP, Wednesday 30 May 2012

Planning agency denies reports it will repeat the huge spending drive it launched in late 2008

China's state news agency has sought to dampen hopes of a major stimulus package to boost the slowing economy following days of market speculation.

Xinhua said in an online report that China's top planning agency National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) had denied "false reports" it would repeat the huge spending drive it launched in late 2008.
 
"The NDRC held a media briefing to clarify false reports that there would a new round of stimuli, a version 2.0 of the four trillion yuan package," said the Tuesday report, which appeared only on the agency's weibo, or microblog.
 
Beijing responded swiftly to the global recession, unleashing a four-trillion-yuan (586-billion-dollar) stimulus package in late 2008 and ordering state-owned banks to boost lending to spur economic activity.
 
The move returned the economy to double-digit growth, but also led to raised inflation and concerns about an explosion in bad debts.
 
China's growth fell to 8.1 per cent in the first quarter of this year from 9.2 per cent in 2011 as a whole, as woes in key export markets such as Europe and the United States hit its overseas sales.
 
The government this month cut banks' required reserve ratio, freeing up funds they can lend to clients, after unexpectedly low figures for April, with exports up just 4.9 per cent year on year and imports virtually flat from a year earlier.
 
On Monday, the China Business News daily reported that the NDRC wanted to speed up approvals of altogether 130 billion yuan of projects in the steel and transport industries to boost the economy.
 
"They're focusing on growth but the government seems quite insistent in its branding of this new expansionary policy," said Andrew Polk, a Beijing-based China economist with the Conference Board, a private research group.
 
"They want people to realise that this is not the big bang policy they had a couple of years ago."
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