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A Chinese Province Mulls Longer Weekends to Push Consumption

Amid slowing economy, employees may be given Friday afternoon off by Hebei province of China as part of more attempts at boosting consumption. A government proposal says that if conditions permit, then the weekend may be extended for workers. Other provinces have also made similar attempts and have experimented with similar ideas as economy of the most populated nation in the world slows down even further. The plan for Hebei province will hopefully improve consumption for the years 2019 and 2020. Published last week, the designed plan talks about breaking down barrier that restrict and limit consumption and also look for newer methods of spurring consumption growth. Earlier in 2015, cabinet of China had suggested addition of Friday afternoons to weekends. Since then, over 10 provincial governments have made similar announcements.

The plan for Hebei province comes as fresh strains emerge in the Chinese economy. China, which is the second largest economic superpower in the world, experienced sharp drops in its imports, leading to increased concerns about the economic state of the country. Latest data show that the number of new orders has significantly reduced as well as manufacturing activities have faced contractions.

Most of the troubles being faced by China are results of the ongoing trade conflict that it is caught up in with the US, which led both the countries to impose tariffs worth billions of dollars on each other’s goods. Although numbers show that China’s economy is annually growing at a rate of 6.5%, it has actually been slowing down in recent years. This economic slowdown is being contained by Beijing with the help of fiscal and monetary stimulus. The finance ministry of the country said on Tuesday that fiscal expenditure would be stepped up by it this year in addition to implementation of greater cuts in taxes.

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