China's Chongqing plans $236 bln spending -paper

BEIJING Tue Aug 21, 2012 7:21am IST

BEIJING Aug 21 (Reuters) - China's southwestern city of Chongqing plans to invest 1.5 trillion yuan ($236 billion) in seven major industries over the next three years, local media said on Tuesday, the latest large-scale local government spending plan to be unveiled.

The China Securities Journal said the Chongqing government plans to invest in a range of manufacturing sectors including electronic communications, automobiles, chemicals and medical equipment. It will also raise spending in research.

The investment is part of Chongqing's five-year economic development plan that runs from 2011 to 2015, the report said.

It did not say how the spending - worth about 150 percent of the city's 2011 total economic output - would be paid for.

Nor did it make clear if it was part of a plan to pump-prime China's economy, mired in its worst slowdown in three years with 2012 set for its worst annual growth in 13 years at 8 percent, according to a Reuters poll.

No details of plan could be found on the government website.

The southern province of Hunan made waves last month after its capital city Changsha announced an 829 billion yuan investment stimulus project. But the plan, worth 147 percent of the city's 2011 economic output, drew scepticism as it was unclear how it would be funded.

Despite the evident economic slowdown, China's central government has been reluctant to authorise a repeat of the nationwide 4 trillion yuan big-bang investment stimulus of 2008/09, as the country is still smarting from the debt overhang left in its wake.

Other Chinese cities to have unveiled big spending plans in recent months include Wuhan, Ningbo and Guizhou, according to state news agency Xinhua.

Chongqing last year tied with Tianjin in northen China to be the fastest-growing city in the country, when its gross domestic product leapt 16.4 percent - far ahead of the national growth rate of 9.2 percent.

Chongqing was formerly ruled by Bo Xilai, an ambitious politician fired this year after his wife was suspected of murdering a British man. She was found guilty and given suspended death sentence, which means she likely faces life in prison.

($1 = 6.3585 Chinese yuan) (Reporting by Koh Gui Qing; Editing by Nick Edwards)

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