China approves US$24.5b in rail and airport projects

[BEIJING] China has approved construction of five airports and three railway projects worth US$24.5 billion), the country's top economic planning agency said on Wednesday, the latest move to speed up infrastructure projects to boost growth.

China's economy grew at its slowest pace since the global financial crisis in the September quarter, adding to worries that it will drag on global growth.

The building of railway lines and airports will foster investment, the biggest driver in the world's second-largest economy, which has sagged this year as a cooling manufacturing sector and a softening housing market discourage spending.

The eight projects include a rail line between the central city of Zhengzhou in Henan province to the western city of Wanzhou in Chongqing, worth 97.4 billion yuan(US$15.4 billion), the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said.

The commission also approved the construction of five airports located in the northwestern provinces of Qinghai and Inner Mongolia, southwestern provinces of Yunnan and Guizhou and northeast Jilin province.

The latest approvals follow the NDRC's approval of three railway construction and expansion projects last week, totalling 95.9 billion yuan.

China's Premier Li Keqiang has recently promised to launch major investment projects in information networks, water conservancy and environmental protection to support the economy.



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