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China’s state planner pledges support for small firms amid downturn

China’s state planner will strengthen support for manufacturers, the service sector and small firms, it said on Tuesday, as strict COVID-19 curbs hit economic activity.
“Impacted by the new wave of COVID-19 outbreaks and the changing international situation unexpectedly, China’s economy faces increasing downward pressure,” National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) spokeswoman Meng Wei told a news conference.

The world’s second-largest economy cooled sharply in April with official data on Monday showing industrial output and retail sales falling at the fastest pace in more than two years.

China’s urban jobless rate hit 6.1% last month, the highest since February 2020.

Meng said that more targeted support would be offered to manufacturing firms, the contact-intensive service sector, small firms and individual businesses to stabilise the job market.

Small firms are the mainstay of China’s economy and a major source of employment.

In April, the NDRC approved eight fixed-asset investment projects worth 18.8 billion yuan ($2.78 billion), according to Meng.

“The quota for local government special bonds on project construction has all been issued so far,” she added. “China’s local governments had issued around 1.4 trillion yuan in special bonds by the end of April.”
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Shen Yan, Ellen Zhang and Ryan Woo; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Sam Holmes)

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