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China’s growth is set to perk up after a decade low

JUST OVER 25 years ago Shanghai launched its metro with a single, stubby line. Since then it has added 15 lines and some 700km, making it the world’s longest metro system. It is far from done. The city recently unveiled plans for another 300km, including overland rail, within five years. Much of the work proceeds unseen as machines bore tunnels beneath the surface. But excavation holes around the city offer clues about the activity deep underground.They are part of a nationwide push. The Chinese government has, in the words of state media, hit the “fast-forward button” on infrastructure spending, a tried and tested way to pep up the economy. In the first quarter China’s GDP grew by 6.4% compared with a year earlier, level with the final quarter of 2018—its slowest in a decade. That would still be enviably fast for most countries. But Chinese officials have been unnerved by the possibility that it could herald the start of a steeper slide.
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