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Top China planner says water projects, other investments will help economy meet growth target

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BEIJING — Major water conservancy projects and other infrastructure investment will help ensure China meets its economic growth target of 7.5 percent for the year, the country's top economic planner said Tuesday.

Director General Li Pumin of the National Development and Reform Commission told reporters that measures to stimulate consumption and halt a decline in investment would start having an effect in the final quarter of the year.

"I am confident we can achieve the annual growth target," Li said.

China's urban fixed-asset investment grew 16.5 percent in the first eight months of 2014 from the same period last year. That was down half a percentage point from the first six months of the year, largely as a result of slowdowns in real estate development and manufacturing, Li said.

Fixed-asset investment contributes about 50 percent of annual economic growth in China, so even a slight drop-off is seen as worrisome.

Li said the decline should be offset by progress in ongoing water conservation projects in which China is investing almost $100 billion. He said 172 other major water projects were planned, but didn't give a figure for the dollar amounts involved.

China's economy, the world's second largest, has continued to slow this year, leading to speculation that it will fall short of the 7.5 percent target, barely half of 2007's peak of 14.2 percent.

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