BEIJING, April 9 China's national railway
operator will raise its annual investment by 20 billion yuan
($3.23 billion) to 720 billion yuan in 2014 to increase the
number of lines it plans to build, the head of the company said
in remarks published on Wednesday.
Sheng Guangzu, general manager of China Railway Corp, was
quoted by the official People's Daily as saying that the company
is targetting starting construction of 48 railway projects this
year, up from 44 projects in its previous plan.
Increased construction of railway lines is one of the
measures the government has recently announced to boost economic
growth, which is rising at its slowest rate in at a least a
decade as the country moves towards consumption-driven growth.
"Quickening the construction of railway lines could increase
the effective demand for steel products, cement and other
building materials and help tackle overcapacity problems," Sheng
was quoted as saying.
China also plans to increase the total length of railway
lines being laid to more than 7,000 kilometres this year, up at
least 25 percent from actual construction finished last year,
China's cabinet said last week that railway investment will
be partly financed by bank loans, while the authorities will
also create a fund worth 200 billion yuan ($32.2 billion) to 300
billion yuan each year that is open to private investors.
For this year, the government will also sell 150 billion
yuan worth of bonds to pay for over 6,600 kilometres of new
Railway investment reached 61 billion yuan in the first
three months this year, up 9 percent from the same time last
year, the paper quoted Sheng as saying.
($1 = 6.1968 yuan)
(Reporting By Xiaoyi Shao and Jonathan Standing; Editing by