China’s state planner has pledged support to manufacturers, the service sector and small firms as strict Covid-19 lockdowns choke economic activity, leading to a slowdown.
The world’s second-largest economy slowed down 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.
“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.
China Plans More Targeted Support For Small Firms
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.”
- Reuters with additional editing by Sean O’Meara