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Is China Continuing Big Spending to Lift Its Economy?



For VOA Learning English, this is the Economics Report.

Chinese officials have predicted lower economic growth again this year. They say that huge government spending programs are coming to a close. Instead, officials say they are seeking what they call “higher quality” but more modest growth. The goal is to increase spending at home in China, and grow the economy in a more balanced way.

In March, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang reinforced this opinion when he announced a target growth rate of seven percent for 2015. That is well below the average over the last 20 years. However, there are signs that the government has not yet ended its big spending programs. Li Keqiang announced a 13 percent increase in fixed asset investments, things like buildings and machinery. The premier also said there would be new spending in energy, railways, water management and housing.

In January, Mr. Li promised to create 10 million new jobs in 2015 -- partly through investment in building projects. The new spending program is less than the stimulus plan China put in place during the world financial crisis. In 2008, China announced a spending package of $570 billion. This year, however, $260 billion is set aside for spending on the economy. To pay for new projects, the government is borrowing money.

Finance Minister Lou Jiwei said in a news conference that deficit spending will be about 2.7 percent of the gross domestic product. The GDP is the value of all goods and services produced by the economy in one year.