China says to build $31B worth of new infrastructure

Traffic in Beijing.
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Traffic in Beijing.

China's economic planner has approved the construction of 192 billion yuan ($31 billion) of roads and an airport in the latest government effort to increase investment and support a slowing economy.

Five roads will be built in the southern and central region and provinces of Guangxi, Guangdong and Sichuan, the National Development and Reform Commission said on its website.

It said that 80 billion yuan would be invested in Beijing to build a third airport in the capital city.

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Investment is a crucial driver of the world's second-largest economy, but it has slowed this year as authorities try to re-engineer the growth model by reducing inefficient state spending and encouraging domestic consumption.

Official data showed investment, which accounted for nearly 42 percent of China's economic growth in the first nine months of this year, grew at its slowest pace in nearly 13 years between January and November at 15.8 percent.

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Listless growth in investment and a sagging housing market have led some analysts to predict that China may slip into its worst economic cool down in nearly a quarter of a century this year as annual growth hits a 24-year-low of 7.4 percent.