April 29, Chinese President Xi Jinping chaired a meeting of the Politburo Standing Committee (PBSC) where the main agenda item was supporting the Hubei economy. Because of the stringent lockdown since Hubei was the epicenter of the epidemic, its GDP contracted 39.2% y/y in the first quarter. The Paper reported the results of a March 20 survey on 176 companies in Wuhan conducted in consultation with the Wuhan branch of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. This revealed: 140 of them had not received any discounted loans from banks; 21 had their loan repayments deferred; Eight received re-financing; Four received interest rate cuts; Two had their loan amounts increased; and One received a government special project loan.
To rectify the situation, the PBSC endorsed a package of policies to step up fiscal, tax, financial, credit, investment, and foreign trade support.Specifically, the meeting emphasized efforts to: Support people in need; Accelerate work and business resumption, especially for the auto manufacturing, information technology, new materials, and bio-medicine industries; Construct both old and new infrastructure; and Expand production and sales channels for farm produce.

(Comment: At roughly USD 650 billion, Hubei's GDP in 2019 was seventh-largest among Chinese provinces.)

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