Bank lending and investment spending, the foundation stones upon which much of China’s stimulus plan was built, saw slower growth in February, the Wall Street Journal reported. Urban fixed-asset investment rose 26.6% in January and February, the slowest rate of growth in a year and well down on the 2009 full-year figure of 30.5%, the National Bureau of Statistics said. It is a reflection of the shift in government policy, with Premier Wen Jiabao telling the National People’s Congress last week that “the launching of new projects must be strictly controlled" this year. New bank loans came in at US$102.6 billion in February compared to US$203.6 billion in January and US$156.7 billion in February of last year. However, the timing of the Lunar New Year holiday must be taken into account when making such comparisons. Industrial output expanded 20.7% year-on-year during January and February, picking up from an 18.5% increase in December, but here, too, comparisons are difficult given the low base last year.
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