China says it will use various policy instruments to support employment

BEIJING (Reuters) – China will strive to stabilize the economy and use various policy tools to support employment, state media reported on Wednesday.

China’s fiscal and monetary policy will prioritize employment and various policy tools will be used to help prevent job losses, the cabinet was quoted as saying after a regular meeting.

«Fresh downward pressure on the Chinese economy increased further in April due to the larger-than-expected impact of a new wave of the pandemic and changes in the international situation,» the cabinet said.

The economy has taken a hit as local authorities scrambled to stem the spread of record COVID-19 cases, which have led to full or partial lockdowns in dozens of Chinese cities, including the closure of the financial hub of Shanghai.

The official unemployment rate hit 5.8% in March, a high in nearly two years.

China will waive interest payments on student loans due this year for this year’s and last year’s college graduates, the cabinet said.

It will also ensure price stability, grain production and the supply of goods, it added.

The government will allocate an additional 50 billion yuan ($7.45 billion) in renewable energy subsidies for power companies backed by the central government, the cabinet said.

China will also expand effective investment by channeling more private funds to infrastructure projects by issuing real estate investment funds, the cabinet said.

The China Securities Regulatory Commission said in a separate statement that it would launch a special corporate financing scheme in its unwavering support for the private economy.

The plan is financed by the state-owned China Securities Finance Corp, and will support private companies with good prospects and competitive technology, the commission said.

(1 US dollar = 6.7135 Chinese yuan)

(Reporting by Kevin Yao and the Beijing newsroom; edited in Spanish by Benjamín Mejías Valencia)