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[economics] China Unveils Sweeping Plan for Economy

来源:New York Times 作者:DAVID BARBOZA 时间:2008-11-13 Tag:China   economics   点击:

Published: November 9, 2008

SHANGHAI — China announced a huge economic stimulus plan on Sunday aimed at bolstering (to support) its weakening economy, a sweeping move that could also help fight the effects of the global slowdown.

At a time when major infrastructure (基础设施) projects are being put off around the world, China said it would spend an estimated $586 billion over the next two years — roughly 7 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP,国内生产总值)each year — to construct new railways, subways and airports and to rebuild communities devastated (destroy) by an earthquake in the southwest in May.

The package (一揽子计划), announced Sunday evening by the State Council(国务院), or cabinet(内阁), is the largest economic stimulus effort ever undertaken by the Chinese government.

“Over the past two months, the global financial crisis has been intensifying daily,” the State Council said in a statement. “In expanding investment, we must be fast and heavy-handed.”

The plan was unveiled (reveal 公之于众) as finance ministers from the Group of 20 nations met in São Paulo, Brazil, over the weekend.

It came less than a week before President Hu Jintao was scheduled to travel to Washington for a global economic summit meeting hosted by President Bush.

On Saturday, Mr. Hu spoke by telephone with President-elect Barack Obama about a variety of issues, including the global financial crisis and how their countries might cooperate to help resolve economic problems.

Asian markets welcomed news of the stimulus plan. The Japanese Nikkei index [日本)东京证券交易所指数] rose 5.6 percent in trading early Monday. Stocks in Hong Kong and Shanghai rallied strongly, jumping over 5 percent and lifting share prices that have been depressed for much of the year.

Although Beijing has indicated that it will focus on keeping its own economy on track, it is difficult to insulate (隔离,绝缘) any economy from a global downturn (低迷时期). After five years of growth in excess of (over)10 percent, China’s economy is beginning to weaken. Growth in exports and investment is slowing, consumer confidence is waning (decline) and stock and property markets are severely depressed.

The stimulus plan, though driven by domestic concerns, represents a fresh commitment by China to keep from adding to the economic and financial woes (misfortune,不幸) of the United States and Europe. It is also likely to cheer foreign investors in China’s economy by ensuring that the country remains a source of growth.

China’s package is not comparable to fiscal (财政的) stimulus measures that are being discussed in Washington. In China, much of the capital for infrastructure improvements comes not from central and local governments but from state banks and state-owned companies that are encouraged to expand more rapidly.

The plan also differs from the $700 billion financial rescue package approved by Congress, which has helped strengthen bank balance sheets but did not directly mandate (要求,批准) new lending or support specific investment projects in the United States.

China’s overall government spending remains relatively low as a percentage of economic output compared with the United States and Europe. Yet Beijing maintains far more control over investment trends than Washington does, so it has greater flexibility to increase investment to counter a sharp downturn.

It was unclear how Chinese officials arrived at the $586 billion figure or how much of the stimulus would be spending above what Beijing normally earmarks (指定用途) for infrastructure projects. Beijing said it was loosening credit and encouraging state-owned banks to lend as part of a more “proactive (提前行动以对付预期的困难的) fiscal policy.”

The government said the stimulus would cover 10 areas, including low-income housing, electricity, water, rural infrastructure and projects aimed at environmental protection and technological innovation — all of which could incite (to provoke and urge on剌激,激励) consumer spending and bolster the economy. The State Council said the new spending would begin immediately, with $18 billion scheduled for the last quarter of this year.

State-driven investment projects of this kind have been a major impetus (推动力, 促进) to Chinese growth throughout the 30 years of market-oriented reforms, a strong legacy of central planning.

The biggest players in many major Chinese industries — like steel, automobiles and energy — are state-owned companies, and government officials locally and nationally have a hand in deciding how much bank lending is steered (to direct the course of 指引……的路线) to those sectors (a part or division,部门).

The investment numbers announced by China’s central government often include projects financed by a variety of sources, including state-backed entities and even foreign investors.

Beijing is struggling to cope with rapidly slowing economic growth. A downturn in investment and exports has led to factory closings in southern China, resulting in mass layoffs(大规模下岗) and even setting off sporadic (零星的) protests by workers who have complained that owners disappeared without paying them their wages.

With many economists in China now projecting that growth in the fourth quarter of this year could be as low as 5.8 percent, and amid worries that the country’s economy could be walloped (hit or defeat) by the global financial crisis, Beijing is moving aggressively.

Analysts were expecting China to announce a big stimulus package, but they said they were surprised at its size. “That is much more aggressive than I expected,” said Frank Gong, an economist at J. P. Morgan who is based in Hong Kong. “That’s a lot of money to spend.”

Mr. Gong said that after the Asian financial crisis in 1997, Beijing undertook a similar, but much smaller, stimulus package, earmarking huge sums to build the country’s highway and toll-road ( 收费道路) system, projects that helped keep the economy growing.

Arthur Kroeber, managing director at Dragonomics, a Beijing-based economic research firm, said the government was concerned because people in China had suddenly pulled back on spending as a precautionary (预防的) move because of worries about China’s suffering with the global economy.

“The government is sending a signal saying: ‘We’re going to spend in a big way,’ ” Mr. Kroeber said Sunday in a telephone interview. “This is designed to say to the market that people should not panic (恐慌).”

Quake Hits Remote Area in China

BEIJING (AP) — A magnitude (震级) 6.5 earthquake struck the remote northwestern Chinese province of Qinghai on Monday, the United States Geological Survey said. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

The quake struck at a depth of 6.2 miles, the agency said.

China’s far west is fairly earthquake-prone. A 7.9 magnitude earthquake on May 12 devastated parts of Sichuan Province, killing about 70,000 people and leaving millions homeless.

A version of this article appeared in print on November 10, 2008, on page A1 of the New York edition.



bolstering (to support) its weakening economy
infrastructure (基础设施)
gross domestic product (GDP,  国内生产总值)
package (一揽子计划)
the Japanese Nikkei index[日本)东京证券交易所指数]
global downturn (低迷时期)
fiscal (财政的) stimulus measures
proactive (提前行动以对付预期的困难的)  fiscal policy
a major impetus (推动力, 促进) to Chinese growth
mass layoffs(大规模下岗)
 toll-road ( 收费道路) system
 a precautionary (预防的) move

 infrastructure: The basic facilities, services, and installations needed for the functioning of a community or society, such as transportation and communications systems, water and power lines, and public institutions including schools, post offices, and prisons.

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