China fights to stay above 7% growth with $1 trillion infrastructure splurge

China is set to make another attempt to stimulate domestic demand by fast tracking work on $1 trillion of construction and infrastructure projects. 

The schemes are part of a two-year, $10 trillion plan, overseen by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the country’s main planning agency. 

Altogether, some 400 major projects will be begun in sectors such as oil and gas pipelines, clean energy, transportation and mining. Investment will come from central and local governments, and loans from state-owned firms and private sector firms. 

A tranche of 300 projects has been announced by the NDRC, a departure from its usual practice of notifying the approval of schemes individually. 

The NDRC has recently announced 21 infrastructure projects worth $113bn and five railway lines costing $25bn. 

China is facing the possibility that GDP growth may dip below 7% for the first time since 2009; it needs to maintain growth of 7.2% to support employment. A slump in the real estate and property markets has contributed to the fall in output. 

Julia Wang, a Hong Kong-based economist with HSBC, told Bloomberg: "It’s part of China’s efforts to stabilize growth, and the news will help to boost market confidence. Infrastructure investment will continue to be a major driver for China’s economic growth."

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