China mulls plans to boost domestic consumption: report

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – The Chinese government is planning new policies to boost domestic consumption, especially of vehicles and appliances, in a bid to offset the effects of sagging export demand, the China Daily reported on Wednesday, quoting a government official.

With tax rebates on vehicles and domestic appliances either having expired or due to expire, the government is working on new measures, said Huang Hai, former assistant minister of commerce and a member of the economic and trade policy consulting committee linked to the Ministry of Commerce.

These may include subsidies for families living in affordable housing that buy electrical appliances and for consumers planning to change cars, the paper said.

The daily also quoted a Ministry of Commerce spokesman as saying that the ministry was considering new programs to expand consumption, with details to be announced next week.

Huang also said over 10 government agencies, including the Ministry of Commerce, the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Finance, are expected to cooperate and propose concrete plans to boost consumption at a meeting slated for April.

China’s exports have steadily fallen over the past few months on the back of economic woes in the European Union. Exports in November expanded 13.8 percent from a year ago, the most sluggish rate in more than two years.

Europe remains China’s single largest export market, but export growth to the continent slowed to just 5 percent in November from a year ago, the third straight month of single digit growth and the smallest expansion since February 2011.

(Reporting by Fayen Wong and Lu Jianxin; Editing by Jonathan Hopfner)

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