China approves $7.87 billion in rail projects to boost economy - report

SHANGHAI Tue Nov 27, 2012 2:07am GMT

A woman peers into the carriage of a train as it prepares to leave the central railway station of the Chinese city of Zhengzhou, Henan Province October 30, 2012. REUTERS/David Gray

A woman peers into the carriage of a train as it prepares to leave the central railway station of the Chinese city of Zhengzhou, Henan Province October 30, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/David Gray

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SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China has approved construction of two city subway projects worth 49 billion yuan (£4.91 billion), adding to the list of recent railway project approvals aimed at boosting growth in the world's second biggest economy.

The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China's state planning agency, also approved a feasibility study on an inter-city rail line between Fuzhou and Pingtan, an island off the coast of Fujian, worth a further 26 billion yuan, the official Shanghai Securities News reported.

The projects appear aimed at shoring up growth in China's economy, which has slowed for seven consecutive quarters, most recently posting 7.4 percent annual growth for the third quarter.

More recent data, however, has shown signs of a recovery, with fixed-asset investment, factory output, and retail sales all beating expectations in October.

Shanghai Securities News, citing an announcement from the NDRC, reported the agency had approved construction of a second subway line in Fuzhou, the capital city of prosperous Fujian province, on China's east coast.

The commission also approved construction of the first two subway lines in Urumqi, the capital of western China's Xinjiang Autonomous Region, the paper reported.

The Fuzhou project, which will take four years to complete, is worth 18 billion yuan, while the Urumqi project will total 31 billion yuan and is due for completion in 2019.

The latest project approvals come on the back of a slate of rail and other projects approved in recent months. In early September, NDRC approved 25 rail projects totalling $110 billion.

Reuters estimated that a flurry of new project approvals announced in early September, when concerns about the slowing economy were at their peak, totalled $157 billion.

Last month, the Ministry of Railways announced it had raised its spending plan for 2013 to 630 billion yuan from 610 billion announced in September.

($1 = 6.2255 Chinese yuan)

(Reporting by Gabriel Wildau; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)

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