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Infrastructure project approvals buoy stimulus hopes

(Xinhua)

16:21, September 08, 2012

BEIJING, Sept. 7 (Xinhua) -- Stock markets on the Chinese mainland outperformed markets elsewhere Friday amid hopes that the central government will step up efforts to boost growth.

Approvals for infrastructure projects worth more than 1 trillion yuan (157.73 billion U.S. dollars) boosted stocks in multiple sectors and buoyed the Shanghai index in its biggest single-day rally in almost eight months.

Over the past two days, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) has approved dozens of infrastructure projects for highways, ports, railways, sewage networks and waste treatment plants across the country.

The move has been seen as the government's latest effort to revive its economy, which has eased markedly over the past year and expanded 7.6 percent in the second quarter of 2012, marking its worst performance in more than three years.

Peng Peng, deputy director of a comprehensive reform research institute in south China's Guangdong province, said local governments will be the main players in shoring up growth this time, unlike in 2008, when the central government led stimulus efforts.

The country has been drip-feeding stimulus measures into the economy over the past few months in an effort to counteract the impact of slowing exports to Europe and boost domestic demand.

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