China to head off slowdown with new economic measures

The plans, the first to be unveiled this year, come in the wake of a string of disappointing data that has sparked fears of a slowdown. In response the government has said it will cut taxes on small firms and speed up the construction of the country’s railway lines.

"We will find innovative ways including fiscal and financial methods to...steady economic growth," the cabinet said in a statement on the government's website. "We must roll out policies that spur businesses' vitality, effectively increase demand and boost jobs.”

After its weekly meeting on Wednesday, China’s government announced the measures, including an 18 percent increase in the total number of railway lines being built compared to last year. Most of those tracks will be laid in central and western regions of the country. To finance the railway investment, the government will sell 150 billion yuan ($24.6 billion) worth of government bonds.