China aims to be the first nation to recover from the global financial crisis, its Premier Wen Jiabao said on a well-publicised weekend tour of factories in the collapsing export zone.
“Our aim is to be the first to recover from the financial crisis. We must have faith and determination,” State media quoted Wen saying, on Monday.
More economic crisis-control measures — besides the 586 billion dollar stimulus announced in November — will be announced before March 5, Wen was quoted saying. “Our measures have already taken effect,’’ Wen said, adding that December data was ‘better than expected’.
The latest macro-economic data is still not released, but the Prime Minister’s words tried to infuse confidence in an economy fighting not to sink below eight per cent growth as forecast for 2009 by the World Bank in Beijing. Last year, China’s economy slowed to a five-year low of nine per cent after a long double-digit run.
Latest analysis from UBS Securities in Beijing has forecast zero export growth for China in 2009, and 15-18 million job losses mostly among migrant workers in the export and construction sector.
Wen’s call for confidence came soon after a mega plan announced last week to redevelop the southern Pearl River Delta, known as the world’s workshop for cheap goods, into a hi-tech zone by 2020. The plans include a bridge linking the delta with Hong Kong and Macau, the development of 10 China-based multinationals, outsourcing centers in two to three cities, and a shift into hi-tech manufacturing like nuclear and wind power, ocean engineering and automobiles.
Wen also said the government would expedite the investment of 600 billion yuan (88 billion USD) into six major projects in a long-term master plan. Local media said the plans include development of a jumbo passenger aircraft and the manned space programme.
Economists expect the impact of these measures to start taking effect much later this year. On Monday, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said auto sales in China, the world’s second-largest automobile market, have sunk to their first single-digit growth since 1999. China’s planning body is working on tax and credit incentives to boost automobile sales.