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China approves US$19.3b of airport, rail projects

[SHANGHAI] China's top economic planner said it had given the green light to over 120 billion yuan worth of airport and railway projects, the latest slew of infrastructure approvals as Beijing looks to avert a sharp slowdown in the economy.

China's National Development and Reform Commission said on its website on Wednesday it had approved seven projects, including the 14.5 billion yuan expansion of an airport on the holiday island of Hainan and a 691 million yuan airport in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang.

Two of the seven approvals were for railway projects, among them a 96.1 billion yuan track connecting Hefei, the capital of Anhui province, to the eastern coastal city of Hangzhou.

Four of the projects were given the green light in April and May with the rest were approved last week, according to the NDRC.

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China's economy grew at its weakest pace in six years in the first quarter, expanding 7 per cent, weighed down by a cooling housing market, slowing local investment and weak domestic and foreign demand.

Economists at China's central bank on Tuesday shaved their forecast for China's economic growth to 7.0 per cent for 2015, from 7.1 per cent previously.

In mid-May, China approved close to 250 billion yuan of railway subway projects.