July 6, 2018 / 12:07 PM / a year ago

China moves to spur consumption amid trade war headwinds

FILE PHOTO: A customer looks at products on sale at a supermarket in central Beijing June 12, 2012. REUTERS/David Gray

BEIJING (Reuters) - China on Friday approved new guidelines to further stimulate household consumption, in a bid to stabilize the economy as it braces for a full-blown trade war with the United States.

The world’s two biggest economies slapped tit-for-tat duties on $34 billion worth of each other’s imports on Friday, with Beijing accusing Washington of triggering the “largest-scale trade war” as they sharply escalated their conflict.

The new guidelines were discussed and approved at a meeting of the Central Leading Group for Comprehensively Deepening Reforms, convened by President Xi Jinping, state broadcaster Central China Television (CCTV) said.

China should “step up efforts from both the supply and demand side and actively cultivate niche markets within the key consumer sectors”, the meeting said, according to the broadcaster.

“(We should) strengthen consumers’ spending capabilities ... to increase the fundamental support consumption provides to economic growth.”

CCTV did not give details of the guidelines, or say when they would take effect.

China’s retail sales missed expectations in May, rising 8.5 percent from a year earlier, versus expectations of an increase of 9.6 percent and compared with a rise of 9.4 percent in April.

Reporting by Beijing Monitoring Desk and Yawen Chen; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

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