CHINA> National
Factory output growth hits new low
By Fu Jing (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-12-16 08:13

China's industrial growth slowed more sharply than expected in November on declining orders and investment stagnancy both at home and abroad, with some sectors like electricity and auto slipping into the red further, according to the latest official data.

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) yesterday said industrial growth last month rose 5.4 percent year-on-year, plunging 11.9 percentage points from a year earlier. The November figure is the country's weakest in the last ten years.

The shrinking figures have also caused concern for the central government as industry accounts for nearly half of China's economy. Zhang Ping, minister of the National Development and Reform Commission, said over the weekend: "The too rapid and broad slide of industry has posed a threat to the stable development of China's economy."

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In a bid to reverse the declining industrial output growth, Zhang said the government is racing against time to roll out stimulus programs for key industrial sectors such as automobiles, iron and steel, ship-building, textiles.

"More favorable measures will be discussed and made public to help the industries fight the global recession," said Zhang. He, however, did not reveal when the programmes would be launched.

China is expected to focus the bulk of its investments next year on developing agriculture, low-cost housing, infrastructure, energy conservation and social welfare. Zhang also said the country will speed up construction of key highways, railways and airports and other projects, which can offer a longer chain for industrial production.

"The increased investments can help solve the mounting difficulties facing industrial enterprises as infrastructure expansion can boost industrial demand," said Zhang.

(China Daily 12/16/2008 page13)