Sunday, November 09, 2008

China Decaying

China announced a 4 trillion yuan ($586 billion) stimulus plan to spur expansion in the world's fourth-largest economy, helping sustain global growth as the U.S., Europe and Japan teeter on the brink of recession.

The funds, equivalent to almost a fifth of China's $3.3 trillion gross domestic product last year, will be used by the end of 2010, the Beijing-based State Council said today on its Web site. China will adopt a ``pro-active fiscal policy'' and pursue a ``moderately loose'' monetary policy, it said.

China is taking steps to bolster its economy less than a week before Premier Wen Jiabao goes to Washington for talks with global leaders on ways to alleviate the world's biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression. People's Bank of China Governor Zhou Xiaochuan said yesterday boosting domestic demand is the best way China can help stabilize the economy.

``The downside risks to economic growth are significantly greater now than just a few months ago,'' said Ma Jun, chief China economist at Deutsche Bank AG in Hong Kong. ``China needs an aggressive fiscal stimulus package.''

The spending announced today, of which 100 billion yuan is earmarked for this quarter, will cover low-rent housing, infrastructure in the rural areas, as well as roads, railways and airports, the State Council said. The government will also allow tax deductions for purchases of fixed assets such as machinery to stimulate investment, a move that will reduce companies' costs by an estimated 120 billion yuan.

Manufacturing, Property Slump

Wen is trying to stop China's economic slowdown from deepening as exports wane, manufacturing contracts and a property slump undermines domestic demand. The central bank has already cut interest rates three times in two months, reducing the one-year lending rate to 6.66 percent.

Manufacturing contracted by the most since at least 2004 in October and export orders dropped to their lowest, according to CLSA Asia Pacific Markets. Home sales have plunged in major cities including Beijing and the stockpile of unsold new vehicles was at a four-year high in September.

China's economy may grow 7.5 percent or less, the slowest pace in nearly two decades, in 2009, according to UBS AG and Credit Suisse AG. Last year, the expansion was 11.9 percent.

``The golden years have shuddered to a dramatic halt,'' said Stephen Green, head of China research at Standard Chartered Bank Plc in Shanghai.

Source - Bloomberg


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