China has pumped 64.63 billion yuan ($9.19 billion) into the economy so far in 2022, in order to protect businesses and employees’ jobs.
Unemployment insurance refunds worth 44.84 billion yuan were handed out to 7.21 million organisations, meaning more than half of all the country’s employers benefitted from the social security net in the first eight months of the year, according to the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security.
The amount of money and number of beneficiaries were respectively 1.9 and 1.8 times their levels reported for the whole of 2021.
On top of that, 3.96 million companies in regions impacted by Covid-19, and in the five hardest-hit industries, received 19.68 billion yuan in one-off training subsidies.
To help college and university graduates find work, the government has provided grants totaling 110 million yuan to 33,000 companies, benefiting 103,000 graduates.
Zhang Chenggang, from the Capital University of Economics and Business, said: “China’s 160-million-plus market entities, offering 600 million jobs, form the cornerstone of the economy and are crucial to the stability of employment.
“The pro-employment funds will encourage employers to maintain jobs, shore up business confidence and stabilize the economy.”
Infrastructure spending ramped up
And the Chinese government is to increase its spending on infrastructure as part of its overall drive to foster long-term, high-quality development, according to the country’s top economic regulator.
Zheng Jian, director of the Department of Infrastructure Development at the National Development and Reform Commission, said China’s “drive to construct key projects will help boost domestic demand, expand effective investment and stabilize the overall economy”.
Zheng said the key focus would be on implementing 102 key projects mapped out during the period of the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) and projects in the five-year plan for developing transport infrastructure.
Song Wen, deputy director of the Planning Department at the National Energy Administration, said investment in key energy fields during the 14th Five-Year Plan period is expected to grow by more than 20% compared with the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20).
Lloyd Chan, a senior economist at the Oxford Economics think tank, said: “We expect infrastructure investment will remain strong and do the heavy lifting to support growth.”
Chan said stimulus packages rolled out in this year’s Government Work Report and the 33 measures announced earlier this year will feed through in the second half of 2022. New measures also include 300 billion yuan ($42 billion) earmarked for specific projects, along with an additional quota of 500 billion yuan in local government special bonds that will be utilized by the end of October as new infrastructure projects become available for financing.
Zhou Maohua, an analyst at China Everbright Bank, said “the construction of key projects will play a crucial role in stabilizing growth, promoting economic transformation and fostering healthy development in the long run”.
Zhou said: “The implementation of key infrastructure projects will help expand effective investment, create more jobs and then stimulate consumption. And the construction of energy infrastructure will help increase the energy supply, promote the transformation of the energy structure and ensure energy security.
“Meanwhile, new infrastructure construction will further boost China’s growth potential.”
Data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that fixed-asset investment grew by 5.8% year-on-year in the January-August period, compared with 5.7% between January and July.
NBS’ figures also show that infrastructure investment grew by 8.3% during the first eight months of the year, higher than that in the first seven months.
Zhou said he expects infrastructure investment will continue to grow for the rest of the year, as stimulus policies start to take effect.
As activity continues to bounce back, helped by the government’s support, China’s economy will continue to recover in the third and fourth quarters of 2022, he added.