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Nation plans more steps to boost consumption

China will take more steps to stimulate investment, boost consumption, create more jobs and increase income, as part of its ongoing efforts to foster a robust domestic market, according to the country's top economic regulator.
 
Ning Jizhe, deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission, said the country will take adequate steps to ensure stable employment, a stable financial sector, stable foreign trade, stable foreign investment, stable domestic investment, and stable expectations.
 
"To promote the establishment of a strong domestic market, we need to make full use of the functions of investment and consumption," Ning told a news conference in Beijing on Sept 24.
 
"We will continue to stimulate effective investment and consumption, such as accelerating infrastructure construction in rural and urban areas and promoting higher quality and an expansion of the consumption capacity."
 
During the first eight months of this year, investment in fixed assets, excluding rural households, jumped 5.5 percent year-on-year. Investment in infrastructure increased 4.2 percent year-on-year, 0.4 percentage point higher than that in the first seven months.
 
Nation plans more steps to boost consumption
 
"Consumption accounted for 60 percent of China's economic growth in the first half, more than 40 percentage points higher than the number of investments," Ning said. "We need to ramp up our efforts to boost consumption, such as increasing incomes, improving the environment and adopting policies and measures to promote household consumption."
 
China's determination to spur consumption comes amid slowing economic growth and rising downward pressure.
 
"Consumption now remains the main driver of economic growth," said Tang Jianwei, chief researcher at the Financial Research Center of the Bank of Communications. "Due to rising Sino-US trade disputes, we are facing many external uncertainties. Therefore, we need to focus on boosting domestic demand. Considering the current levels of per capita rural and urban incomes and the proportion of consumption to the total GDP, there is a lot of room for consumption growth."
 
Tang said there are still some shortcomings in domestic consumption, such as the slower growth in incomes and the lack of sufficient domestically made high-end products and services.
 
"We need to take more steps to further diversify the proceeds, deepen reforms of social security systems and create a better environment, that will encourage people to consume more and have more money to spend," Tang said.
 
Ding Shouhai, a professor of applied economics at the Renmin University of China, said it was necessary to increase incomes and keep employment stable to boost consumption and stabilize the economy.
 
Ding released a report at a recent China macroeconomic forum in Beijing, wherein he advocated that China's employment rate has remained generally stable with partial problems in some industries like automobiles, electronic communication, some traditional manufacturing units, construction, real estate and information services.
 
"Generally, China is unlikely to see a big surge in unemployment," Ding said. "To ensure stable employment, more efforts are needed to prepare plans to deal with the uncertainties arising from Sino-US trade friction, further deepen tax reform for companies, provide subsidies to guide companies' employment behavior, improve urban management and loosen restrictions on the night economy."

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