China more than quadruples fixed-asset investment approvals in third quarter versus second quarter

BEIJING (Reuters) - China more than quadrupled the value of fixed-asset investment projects approved in the third quarter from the April-June period, Reuters calculations showed, as Beijing accelerated infrastructure spending to prop up the slowing economy.

The state planner approved 45 projects worth 437.4 billion yuan ($63 billion) in July-September, accounting for nearly two-thirds of the value of approvals so far this year, according to Reuters calculations from official data released on Wednesday.

That compared to 90.5 billion yuan worth of approved projects in the second quarter.

The National Development and Reform Commission said it gave the green light to 697.7 billion yuan worth of projects in the January to September period.

Those projects mainly focused on the technology, energy, agriculture and transport sectors, commission spokeswoman Meng Wei told a news conference in Beijing.

She did not give a figure for the month of September and the commission has not disclosed data for August either.

Fixed-asset investment growth, a key driver of China’s economy, has hovered at record lows despite official efforts to accelerate approvals and the resumption of infrastructure projects Beijing had put on hold due to debt concerns.

China’s economy expanded last quarter at its weakest pace since the 2008 global financial crisis. Economists are forecasting more headwinds in the coming quarters as a years-long campaign to take on debt risks and the trade war with the United States bites.

($1 = 6.9401 Chinese yuan renminbi)

Reporting by Stella Qiu, Lusha Zhang and Ryan Woo; Editing by Darren Schuettler