China has taken steps to bolster the economy just hours after saying gross domestic product grew 7.4 percent in the three months to March, its slowest pace in 18 months, Shanghai Daily reported Thursday.
The government moved to spur lending to the farm sector, saying it will reduce the amount of cash some rural banks hold in reserves at the central bank.
Also, the State Council said tax incentives will be offered to companies employing people who have been out of work for more than a year.
The announcement came just two weeks after China took its first step this year to bolster the slowing economy by cutting taxes for small firms and speeding up railway investment, the report said.
The first quarter’s growth exceeded market expectations but was below the government’s 7.5 percent target and the previous quarter’s 7.7 percent.
Gross domestic product was 12.82 trillion yuan (US$2.08 trillion) in the first three months, the statistics bureau was quoted as saying.
Growth was led by a 7.8 percent increase in the service sector. Manufacturing rose 7.3 percent and agriculture 3.5 percent.
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