BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s economy grew at the weakest pace in nearly three decades last year amid weakening domestic demand and U.S. trade tariffs, prompting Beijing to announce a series of growth-boosting measures to avert the risk of a sharper slowdown.
China has taken fiscal and monetary policy measures such as fast-tracking infrastructure projects and cutting taxes and banks’ reserve requirements.
The government is likely to unveil more fiscal stimulus during the annual parliament meeting in March, including further tax cuts and more spending on infrastructure projects, to support growth.
In 2008-09, Beijing launched a 4 trillion yuan ($589 billion) spending package to counter the global financial crisis, which quickly revived economic growth but saddled the economy with a mountain of debt.
Beijing again resorted to policy easing to support the economy in 2012 and 2015, which that further pushed up debt levels and inflated home prices.
Below are details on the measures announced by China recently.
*China approved 189 fixed asset investment projects in 2018, including projects in the high-tech, energy, transportation and water conservation sectors, according to the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).
*China’s aviation regulator expected the country to invest up to 85 billion yuan ($12.50 billion) in aviation infrastructure in 2019.
*China’s transport ministry expected the country to invest around 1.8 trillion yuan in highway and waterway infrastructure in 2019.
*Investment in all the infrastructure projects approved by China’s state planner since October last year totaled around 1.18 trillion yuan ($173.48 billion).
*China cut about 1.3 trillion yuan in taxes and fees in 2018, compared with 1.02 trillion yuan in reductions in 2017.
*The nation cut a total of over 3 trillion yuan in taxes and fees in 2013-2017.
*China has begun approving local government bond issuances earlier than usual this year, authorizing an initial quota of 1.39 trillion yuan, enabling local authorities to start issuing debt from January.
*Bloomberg reported that 2019 special bonds quota will rise by 60 percent to 2.15 trillion yuan, citing unnamed sources.
China’s central bank has cut the amount of money that banks need to set aside as reserves five times over the past year to spur loans to smaller firms.
($1 = 6.8020 Chinese yuan renminbi)
Reporting by Lusha Zhang, Se Young Lee and Kevin Yao