China to take measures to boost demand fearing economy slowdown
China has said it will take measures to boost demand and investment amid fears of a slowdown in its economy. The government said it will encourage private investment in sectors such as energy, railways and telecommunications.
The move comes as its export sector, one of the biggest drivers of growth, has been hurt by falling global demand. Policymakers have also found it tough to boost domestic consumption enough to offset a decline in foreign sales.
Downward pressure on the economy is increasing the government said in a statement issued after a cabinet meeting led by Premier Wen Jiabao.
It added: We must proactively take policies and measures to expand demand and to create a favourable policy environment for stable and relatively fast economic growth.
China's growth has been slowing in recent times. Its economy expanded by an annual rate of 8.1% in the first quarter, the slowest pace in almost three years.
The government has set a target of 7.5% growth in 2012, the lowest since 2004. However, there have been fears that China's economy may witness a bigger-than-expected slowdown in the near term.
Those fears have been fanned further in recent days as the Euro zone debt crisis has taken centre stage again after voters in Greece backed politicians who have voiced their opposition to state spending cuts.
There are concerns that as the debt crisis escalates, it may dent consumer sentiment in the region and further hurt demand for China's exports.
Triggered by fears of a slowdown in the economy, China has been easing its policies in a bid to sustain growth.
China's central bank has cut the reserve ratio requirement, the amount of money that banks need to hold in reserves, three times in the past six months.
The cuts give more money to banks to lend in the hope that increased lending will result in higher spending and boost domestic demand.