Rail spending fuels share prices

Business | Reuters and Tracy Hu 3 Jan 2018

Share prices of railway firms surged after China's national railway operator announced yesterday that it plans to invest 732 billion yuan (HK$881.01 billion) in fixed assets in 2018, which is the lowest target since 2013 and 8.5 percent less than the 800 billion yuan benchmark that it had used since 2014.

China Railway Corp, the national railway operator, made the comments through its news publication, People's Railway Network. The country, which invested 801 billion yuan in rail fixed assets in 2017, has for the last four years set an annual target of 800 billion yuan. Its target for 2013 was 660 billion yuan.

The railway operator also said that it aimed to build 4,000 kilometers of new lines this year, 3,500 kms of which will be high-speed rail tracks.

The Ministry of Transport has said the country plans to spend 3.5 trillion yuan in the railway sector as part of the country's 13th five-year plan for 2016-2020 and the government will build 30,000 kilometers of new track over the five years, expanding the country's huge railway network to 150,000 kms.

China's high-speed rail tracks will reach 38,000 kms by 2025, higher than 25,000 kms registered by the end of 2017.

China's operating high-speed rail tracks accounted for 66.3 percent of the world's total by the end of 2017, said Lu Dongfu, general manager of China Railway Corp.

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