|China can be first to 'recover' from crisis|
Wang Xu (China Daily)
China could be the first to recover from the global financial crisis, and will introduce more measures in the next two months to bolster the economy, Premier Wen Jiabao has said.
"Our aim is to be the first to recover from the financial crisis. We must have faith and determination," Wen said on a tour of export powerhouse Jiangsu province over the weekend.
The government will put forward a series of new measures, which top policymakers are working on, before the annual session of the National People's Congress that begins on March 5, he said.
Policymakers have used proactive fiscal and moderately loose monetary policies to maintain the economy's momentum. Plus, the government is drafting another policy package to help nine key industrial sectors hit hard by the global economic downturn.
The National Development and Reform Commission, the country's top planning body, is likely to announce the detailed policy for the auto sector soon. The policy will offer measures like tax and credit incentives to increase the sale of vehicles.
Wen said the government would expedite the investment of 600 billion yuan ($88 billion) into six major projects, approved in the country's master plan for scientific and technological development over medium and long terms.
The premier did not give details of the six projects but the master plan, released in 2006, included 16 scientific and technological schemes that were expected to be completed by 2020. Among them the development of the indigenously built jumbo passenger aircraft and the manned space program.
The country's economy has been losing steam over the past six months because the global economic downturn has dealt a blow to its exports sector. Exports dropped in November, the first time in seven years, and the industrial output growth fell to 5.4 percent, the lowest in 10 months.
But "our measures have already taken effect", Wen said, adding that the December data were "better than expected".
Some economic indicators such as corporate revenue and electricity use have already begun to rebound, he said.
According to China Electricity Council, an industry association, the country's use of electricity rose to 273.7 billion KWh in December, up 6.8 percent from the previous month. In October, the use of electricity, largely considered an indicator of the country's economic activities, dropped about 4 percent year-on-year - the first time in a decade.
The $586-billion fiscal stimulus package, announced on Nov 9, is expected to help the economy rebound this year, economists with the Standard Chartered Bank said in a research note on global economic outlook. They remained upbeat over the country's long-term growth prospects, too, despite the current slowdown.
Yi Gang, central bank vice-governor, said at a forum over the weekend that the country's economic growth would pick up between the second and third quarters because local enterprises are likely to have reduced their inventories substantially by then.