by Staff Writers
Shanghai (AFP) Sept 6, 2012
China has approved 25 new urban railway projects, state media said Thursday, in a sign the government is ramping up infrastructure spending to boost the country's economy.
Top state planner the National Development and Reform Commission had approved projects valued at more than 800 billion yuan ($127 billion) in cities nationwide, the official Xinhua news agency said.
Statements posted Wednesday on the commission's website showed the projects in 18 cities were approved between April and August. They include two metro lines in Shanghai.
"The move marks the government's latest effort to stabilise economic growth," Xu Changle, an economics professor at Shanghai's East China Normal University, was quoted by Xinhua as staying.
Beijing has already cut interest rates twice this year, in June and July, and trimmed the amount of funds banks must place in reserve three times since last December, but there have been calls for policymakers to do more.
China's economy has eased markedly over the past year, expanding 7.6 percent in the second quarter of 2012, the worst performance in three years.
The government has set a target for economic growth of 7.5 percent for this year, down from actual growth of 9.3 percent last year, according to a revised figure announced this week.
Despite easing monetary policy, China has so far refrained from moves like the massive 4.0 trillion yuan fiscal stimulus it launched in the wake of the global financial crisis in 2008.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said last month that the country would be able to meet its economic growth target of at least 7.5 percent, and would promote growth through its monetary policy.
One Chinese industry group estimates the length of subway lines in China will more than quadruple between now and 2020 to 7,000 km (4,347 miles) with 40 cities having metro systems by that date, Xinhua said.
Great Train Journey's of the 21st Century
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