BEIJING — China’s top economic planner has decided to extend the policy of cutting electricity prices by 5 percent until year-end to help businesses overcome difficulties caused by the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The policy, first adopted for the Feb 1 to June 30 period to mitigate the impact of the epidemic, will be extended to Dec 31 and applies to enterprise users except those in high energy consuming sectors, according to the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

The decision is aimed at reducing business costs and stabilizing the job market, the NDRC noted.

As the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted global industrial chains and dampened demand, Chinese authorities repeatedly stressed the important role of fee cuts in ensuring employment, meeting basic living needs and protecting market entities.

Official data on Sunday showed profits of China’s major industrial firms dropped 19.3 percent year-on-year in the first five months of 2020 due to the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic.

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