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China planner approves US$4b in new roads, bridges: state media

[SHANGHAI] China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) has approved 25 billion yuan (US$4 billion) of new bridge and road construction projects on Tuesday, the official Shanghai Securities News reported.

The new investments come on the heels of project approvals worth 209 billion yuan announced by the NDRC on Monday, as Beijing tries to reinvigorate economic growth through a combination of monetary easing and direct investment.

The NDRC approved 1.38 trillion yuan of projects in the fourth quarter, the newspaper said on Wednesday.

Stock investors have been closely watching NDRC announcements for indications of where to put money in the context of an ongoing bull market set off in November when the central eased its monetary stance.

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The newspaper said the projects are tightly targeted to stimulate productive investment. That phrasing commonly accompanies announcements of new infrastructure investment projects as the government tries to stimulate growth without setting off another round of poorly planned investment as it did in 2009, when local governments took advantage of cheap credit and slack oversight to build roads, buildings and even cities for which there was little present demand.

That saddled China with a massive debt overhang which the system is still trying to digest.