China must hasten infrastructure investment to stabilize growth: state advisor

Sun Oct 18, 2015 9:00am EDT
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BEIJING (Reuters) - Increased infrastructure investment is key to stabilizing China's economic growth, a top state advisor said on Sunday, while calling on the central bank to lower the cost of financing for companies and increase overall credit.

"Keeping relatively high growth of infrastructure investment is key to stabilizing economic growth" since property and manufacturing investment remains weak, said Yu Bin, head of the micro economy research department at the State Council's Development Research Centre.

China needs to speed up its 172 hydropower projects, develop 800 million mu (53 million hectares) of high-standard agricultural land and increase investment in rural roads, Yu said.

Yu's comments come a day before the Chinese government is due to release third-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) growth figures, and were published in the government-owned Economic Daily on Sunday.

Many economists expect China to report that July-Sept economic growth dropped below 7 percent for the first time since the global financial crisis.

Premier Li Keqiang said on Saturday that with the global economic recovery losing steam, achieving domestic growth of around 7 percent is "not easy".

President Xi Jinping also acknowledged "concerns about the Chinese economy" but sought to allay them in a written interview with Reuters.

The Chinese government has taken several measures in recent months to accelerate construction investment, in part by attracting private financing through the increased used of public-private partnerships (PPP).

The Ministry of Finance (MOF) in September published details for 206 proposed PPP projects, worth a total value of 659 billion yuan ($104 billion), including an expressway in Beijing.   Continued...

The hooks of a crane are pictured in front of the setting sun, at a port in Qingdao, Shandong province, China, October 14, 2015. REUTERS/China Daily