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China’s budget deficit widens 600% as pandemic cuts revenue

时间:2周前   阅读:4   评论:1

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China’s finances have been squeezed this year as its worst Covid wave in more than two years and restrictions imposed to contain the outbreaks curbed economic growth and tax income, while putting extra burdens on local governments to spend more to pay for virus testing and controls. Revenue has also been impacted by a tax relief plan to shore up the economy and a struggling real-estate market, which caused land sales to plummet.

BEIJING: China’s broad budget deficit in the first six months of the year widened to a record as government spending climbed and falling land sales and tax breaks cut income.

The budget deficits for all levels of government was a combined 5.1 trillion yuan (RM3.4 trillion), according to Bloomberg calculations based on data from the Finance Ministry (MoF) released yesterday.

That was the highest ever for the first half of any year and compares with a shortfall of just 718 billion yuan (RM474bil) at the same point in 2021 and a gap of 3.4 trillion yuan (RM2.2 trillion) in 2020.

China’s finances have been squeezed this year as its worst Covid wave in more than two years and restrictions imposed to contain the outbreaks curbed economic growth and tax income, while putting extra burdens on local governments to spend more to pay for virus testing and controls.

Revenue has also been impacted by a tax relief plan to shore up the economy and a struggling real-estate market, which caused land sales to plummet.

The Finance Ministry will keep a close eye on local government finances and detect and solve problems in a timely manner, Song Qichao, an official with the ministry’s budget department, said at a briefing yesterday.

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“Preemptive measures to curb spending will be taken and contingency plans will be made for some counties whose fiscal situation is in a tight balance, so that we maintain the bottom-line of preventing systemic risks,” he said.

The government took in 13.3 trillion yuan (RM8.8 trillion) in income in January to June, when combining the general public and government funds.

General public revenue fell 10.2% from a year earlier, but would have risen 3.3% had it not been for the tax rebates, the ministry said.

“Fiscal income is expected to gradually rebound as the economy will likely continue to recover in the second half of the year” with government stimulus taking effect, Xue Xiaoqian, an official with the MoF’s treasury payment centre, said at the same press conference.

The government had planned 1.64 trillion yuan (RM1 trillion) worth of additional tax refunds to companies this year, but has actually returned 1.85 trillion yuan (RM1.2 trillion) in the first six months, 2.9 times the size seen in the whole year of 2021, said Wei Yan, another MoF official.

The impact of the programme on government income will likely taper off in coming months. — Bloomberg

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