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China encourages insurance firms to invest in major projects

[BEIJING] China's top economic planner on Thursday encouraged insurance companies to invest in major construction projects, adding to government efforts to channel funds into infrastructure and boost economic growth.

A general lack of funding, falling company profitability and weakening fund-raising ability by local government has curbed investment growth this year, according to the guidance jointly issued by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and the China Insurance Regulatory Commission.

Insurance institutions are encouraged to invest in key infrastructure projects via bonds and investment funds, the NDRC said on its website, adding it will accelerate the process for implementing key construction projects.

The NDRC said the guidelines will open a channel for funds to flow into the real economy from the financial sector and ease investment capital shortages.

Earlier on Thursday the country's top auditor said major Chinese construction projects worth about 286.9 billion yuan (US$45.17 billion) are facing delays due to lack of funding.

REUTERS