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BEIJING, March 20 Premier Li Keqiang said China
will speed up investment and construction plans to ensure
domestic demand expands at a stable rate - an indication
authorities are considering practical measures to support
slackening economic growth.
Li said at a weekly Cabinet meeting that China needs to roll
out approved plans for growing domestic demand to keep growth in
the economy in a "reasonable range".
No further details were given in an official statement
following the meeting, and it was not clear if Li had given
authorities a green light to accelerate new investment, or to
start work on projects that have already been approved.
China's economic performance has been surprisingly subdued
by its standards this year, with growth in investment, retail
sales and factory output all hitting multi-year lows in January
That weakness has rattled global investors who fear the huge
contributor to world economic growth is slowing much faster than
they had thought, and will soon drag on activity across the
A falling yuan has further added to jitters about
China's stumbling economy. The currency fell to one-year lows on
Thursday after the central bank doubled its daily trading band
to 2 percent.
Some analysts believe China's central bank is engineering
this year's decline in the yuan to cushion a weakening economy,
while others speculate that the government may step up efforts
to bolster growth in coming months.
Analysts from government-controlled think-tanks said last
week that Beijing may loosen monetary policy by reducing the
level of deposits commercial banks must keep at the central bank
if the economic growth slips below the government's 7.5 percent
(Reporting by Koh Gui Qing; Editing by Eric Meijer)