China: Protecting domestic economy is top priority

China’s government indicated Tuesday it would resist pressure to contribute to a global bailout fund, saying that ensuring the country’s economic stability is the most important step it can take to tackle the financial crisis.

President Hu Jintao is due to attend next weekend’s summit in Washington of leaders from 20 major economies to discuss a response to the crisis. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has called on China, which has nearly $2 trillion in reserves, and oil-rich Middle Eastern nations to fund the bulk of an increase in an IMF bailout fund.

Associated Press

“We should put our own house in order and we should stabilize our own financial market and maintain market order,” said a foreign ministry spokesman, Qin Gang. “I believe this is the most effective contribution China can make to tackling this financial crisis. It will help to maintain the sound and steady development of the world economy.”

Graphic charting China's consumer price index, which hit ... 
Graphic charting China’s consumer price index, which hit a 17th-month low of 4.0 percent in October(AFP/null)

China, the world’s fourth-largest economy, unveiled a 4 trillion yuan ($586 billion) stimulus package Sunday, which Premier Wen Jiabao said was its “biggest contribution to the world.”

The plan calls for higher spending through 2010 on airports, highways and other infrastructure, more aid to the poor and farmers and tax cuts for exporters.

Economic growth slowed to 9 percent in the last quarter, down from last year’s stunning 11.9 percent rate and the slowest growth in five years. Export orders have fallen sharply as global demand weakens, leading to layoffs and factory closures.

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