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China approves plan aimed at spurring investment and spending

BEIJING (Reuters) -China’s cabinet on Friday approved a plan aimed at promoting large-scale equipment upgrades and sales of consumer goods, state media reported.

The plan, outlined at a recent Communist Party meeting, is one of a series of steps China is taking to boost the economy which has been recovering weakly since the COVID-19 pandemic.

The government will launch a new drive to promote the replacement of old consumer goods with new ones, the cabinet said.

“We must promptly improve the plan, carefully organise and implement it, and promote the continuous increase in the proportion of advanced production capacity,” state media cited a cabinet meeting chaired by Premier Li Qiang.

“More high-quality and durable consumer goods will enter the lives of residents.”

Analysts at Societe Generale estimated that the government gave some 40 billion yuan ($5.6 billion) in subsidies to buyers of home appliances during a previous similar scheme in 2009-2011.

“Simply adjusting for the much larger size of GDP, subsidies need to reach at least 60 billion (yuan) in 2024 to match the significance last round,” the analysts said in a note.

“Investment will continue to receive a lot of fiscal love.”

China’s parliament is expected to unveil moderate stimulus plans aimed at stabilising growth at an annual meeting beginning on Tuesday, but may disappoint those calling for a detailed roadmap of bold steps to fix the country’s deep structural imbalances.

($1 = 7.1980 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Albee Zhang and Kevin Yao; Editing by Christina Fincher and Hugh Lawson)

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