By Joe Cash

BEIJING (Reuters) -China’s state planning body and finance ministry on Thursday said they will craft policies aimed at stimulating spending on housing and unlocking consumer savings that have been built up during the pandemic.

The announcements, reported by state media, also included plans to help the elderly, improve child care services and encourage couples to have more children.

Policymakers will seek to encourage and attract more private capital to the market, a report said, while also taking steps to curb the increase in hidden debts and prevent illegal and irregular debt raising.

The National Development and Reform Commission, China’s state planner, will also work on plans to boost incomes, improve the spending power of low and middle-income citizens while encouraging spending on housing, new energy vehicles and elderly care services, it said in the ruling Communist Party journal Qiushi.

Chinese government officials have consistently spoken of the need to boost domestic demand this year after economic growth in 2022 slumped to one of its weakest levels in nearly half a century.  

(Reporting by Joe Cash, Ethan Wang and Beijing newsroom; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)