BEIJING, April 1 China's Vice Premier Zhang
Gaoli called for faster construction of certain important
projects on Tuesday, in remarks that may feed speculation that
China will increase state spending in coming months to bolster
its stuttering economy.
Zhang was also quoted as saying on the government's website
that China must boost domestic consumption, speed up
construction of key projects, expand private investment and
stabilise trade growth.
He did not name any particular construction projects or say
whether the authorities would fast-forward new projects or focus
on those already approved.
China's economy has had a surprisingly soft start to the
year, rattling investors who had expected a stable performance
and who now fear China may drag on global growth. Two surveys on
Tuesday showed China's manufacturing sector remained weak in
Zhang, who is touring three northern Chinese cities,
described China's economy as "stable" but said the country has
to pay close attention to the risks to growth.
He called for public confidence in the government, saying
the authorities have the means to keep the economic growth
within "a reasonable range".
He also said Beijing will keep its economic policies stable
- the government's standard description for its policy
Beijing said last month it is targeting economic growth of
around 7.5 percent this year, but a disappointing performance
since January has sown doubt over whether the target can be met.
(Reporting by Koh Gui Qing; Editing by Hugh Lawson)