October 15, 2015 / 7:36 AM / in 4 years

China approves 218 projects worth $285 billion in January-September

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s economic planner said it approved 218 fixed-asset projects worth 1.81 trillion yuan ($285.3 billion) in the first nine months of the year, as Beijing looks to drive infrastructure investment to support slowing economic growth.

The highest number of approvals were in the transportation and infrastructure sector, which saw 84 projects worth 990.6 billion yuan, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said at a briefing in Beijing on Thursday.

It also gave the greenlight to 398.2 billion yuan worth of irrigation and water conservancy projects, as well as to 236.6 billion yuan of energy projects.

“As these projects are developed and implemented, they can support steady investment growth, beef up development and provide strong foundations for long-term economic development,” NDRC spokesman Li Pumin said.

China has increased efforts to support the economy in recent months, ranging from fast-tracking infrastructure investment to cutting down payments for some first-time home buyers and pushing ahead with financial reforms.

Li said a bond fund spearheaded by the State Council and NDRC, involving policy lenders Agricultural Development Bank and the China Development Bank, had invested its first tranche of funds into projects and was now investing its second round.

Reuters reported in July that China planned to raise $160 billion in bonds to fund infrastructure projects over the next few years.

($1 = 6.3436 Chinese yuan renminbi)

Reporting by Xiaoyi Shao and Nick Heath; Additional reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore

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