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China's first-half fiscal spending up 10.7% as Beijing boosts support for economy

Key Points
  • China's fiscal spending increased 10.7% in the first six months from a year earlier, while fiscal revenue rose 3.4%, according to its finance ministry.
  • Data on Monday showed China's economic growth slowed to 6.2% in the second quarter, its weakest pace in at least 27 years, as demand at home and abroad faltered in the face of mounting U.S. trade pressure.
A Chinese national flag flies in front of a building under construction in the central business district of Beijing, China.
Giulia Marchi | Bloomberg | Getty Images

China's fiscal spending increased 10.7% in the first six months from a year earlier, the finance ministry said on Tuesday, underlining the government's bid to support the slowing economy.

Fiscal revenue rose 3.4% in the January-June period from a year earlier, Liu Jinyun, an official with the ministry said.

"In the first half, the nationwide fiscal spending growth was significantly faster than revenue growth, providing a strong support for investment in key areas," Liu said at a briefing.

Yet fiscal spending growth in the first half cooled from the 15% pace in the first quarter, according to finance ministry data.

Data on Monday showed China's economic growth slowed to 6.2% in the second quarter, its weakest pace in at least 27 years, as demand at home and abroad faltered in the face of mounting U.S. trade pressure.

China's tax revenues rose only 0.9% in the first half from a year earlier, which compared with a 5.4% rise in the first quarter, the ministry said.

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But non-tax revenues during the period jumped 21.4% from a year earlier.

Hao Lei, a second official at the ministry, said the central government has stepped fund transfers to local governments to help ease their spending strains, he said.

"Due to the impact of policy on tax and fee cuts, fiscal revenue growth has been slowing since the start of this year and pressures on revenue and spending have increased," Hao told the same briefing.

In the first half, local government's total net bond issuance reached 2.1765 trillion yuan ($316.74 billion), accounting for 70.7% of the annual quota, the ministry said.

Net local government bond issuance hit 717 billion yuan in June, the highest so far this year and accounted for a third of the first-half amount, the ministry said. But it did not give figures on local government's issuance of special bonds.

Beijing has announced tax cuts worth nearly 2 trillion yuan and a quota of 2.15 trillion yuan for local governments to sell special bonds this year to fund key infrastructure projects.