China unveils detailed stimulus policies to support virus-hit economy

China’s cabinet unveiled a package of 33 measures covering fiscal, financial, investment and industrial policies on Tuesday to revive a pandemic-ravaged economy, saying it will inspect how provincial governments implement them.

The stimulus package, which was flagged by China’s State Council in a routine meeting last week, underscores Beijing’s shift toward growth, after draconian COVID-19 control measures pounded the economy and threatens Beijing’s 5.5% growth target for the year.

To revive investment and consumption, China will promote healthy development of platform companies, which are expected to play a role in stabilising jobs, according to the measures.

Platform companies are also encouraged to make breakthroughs in areas including cloud computing, artificial intelligence and blockchain technologies, the State Council said, the latest sign that China is easing a crackdown on the sector.

China will also expand private investment, accelerate infrastructure construction and stimulate purchases of cars and home appliances to stabilise investments, according to the measures.

In terms of monetary and financial policies, China will boost financing efficiency via capital markets, by supporting domestic firms to list in Hong Kong, and promote offshore listings by qualified platform companies.

The State Council also vowed to further reduce real borrowing costs, and strengthen financial support for infrastructure and major projects.

To enhance fiscal support to the economy, China will accelerate local government special bond issuance and cash support for firms that hire college graduates.

Authorities will also provide tax credit rebates to more sectors and allow firms in industries hit hard by COVID-19 curbs to defer social security payments, the State Council said.

Other measures include policies to ensure energy and food security, and stabilise supply chains.

Authors: Stella Qiu, Ryan Woo, Reuters

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