Wires

China to offer $398 million in loan subsidies to importers

BEIJING, Oct 10 (Reuters) - China will offer 2.5 billionyuan ($398 million) in loan subsidies to importers for purchasesof advanced technological equipment, raw materials and othercomponents, the Ministry of Finance said on Wednesday.

The move is the latest central government effort to usefiscal spending to prop up growth and balance trade.

The money is allocated from the central budget. The fundinghas seen a 25 percent increase from last year, the ministry saidin a statement on its website.

Beijing has allocated a total of 9.5 billion yuan to offerinterest discounts to importers since 2008, when the specializedfund was established.

Chinese imports fell 2.6 percent in August from a yearearlier and exports rose only 2.7 percent, both missing investorexpectations.

Beijing has already rolled out a slew of measures to helpexporters and importers facing stiffening headwinds, includingcutting red tape, easing access to loans and speeding up refundson tax rebates.

The Finance Ministry said last month it would suspendinspection and quarantine fees for all goods coming in and outof China for the rest of this year to shield exporters andimporters from the global economic downturn.

China is expected to report on Oct 18 that annual economicgrowth probably slowed for a seventh straight quarter in theJuly-September period to the weakest level since the depths ofthe global financial crisis, a Reuters poll showed, reinforcingthe case for further policy stimulus.($1 = 6.2878 Chinese yuan)

(Reporting By Xiaoyi Shao and Koh Gui Qing; Editing by KimCoghill)

((xiaoyi.shao@thomsonreuters.com)(+8610-66271221)(Reuters

Messaging: xiaoyi.shao.reuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: CHINA ECONOMY/IMPORT ASSISTANCE

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