China must slow growth or risk crisis

March 9, 2004 at 6:13 AM

BEIJING, March 9 (UPI) -- China must slow its infrastructure building and cut investments in steel, electricity and cement to avoid a crisis, a development official warns.

Investments in steel rose 96.6 percent last year, in electricity 92.6 percent, and in cement, 120 percent, the South China Morning Post reported Tuesday. Government money poured into infrastructure projects has sparked a building boom.

Ma Kai, head of the State Development and Reform Commission, warned the figures signaled overinvestment and possibly overproduction in the long term because of the scale of the projects.

China accounted for 4 percent of the world's GDP last year, but the country consumed 7.4 percent of global oil, 31 percent of coal, 21 percent of steel, 25 percent of aluminum and 40 percent of cement.

The government last year restricted new bank loans to the property sector in an effort to slow expansion.

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Topics: Ma Kai
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