China identifies second set of projects in $140 billion spending plan

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China’s top planning body said on Saturday it had identified a second batch of public investment projects, including flood control and disaster relief programmes, under a bond issuance and investment plan announced in October to boost the economy.

With the latest tranche, China has now earmarked more than 800 billion yuan of its 1 trillion yuan ($140 billion) in additional government bond issuance in the fourth quarter, as it focuses on fiscal steps to shore up the flagging economy.

The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said in a statement on Saturday it had identified 9,600 projects with planned investment of more than 560 billion yuan.

China’s economy, the world’s second largest, is struggling to regain its footing post-COVID-19 as policymakers grapple with tepid consumer demand, weak exports, falling foreign investment and a deepening real estate crisis.

The 1 trillion yuan in additional bond issuance will widen China’s 2023 budget deficit ratio to around 3.8 percent from 3 percent, the state-run Xinhua news agency has said.

“Construction of the projects will improve China’s flood control system, emergency response mechanism and disaster relief capabilities, and better protect people’s lives and property, so it is very significant,” the NDRC said.

The agency said it will coordinate with other government bodies to make sure that funds are allocated speedily for investment and that high standards of quality are maintained in project construction.

($1 = 7.1315 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Shanghai newsroom; Editing by Edmund Klamann)