China fiscal deficit widened in 2015

Beijing, January 29

China had a wider fiscal deficit in 2015 than a year earlier as it jacked up spending to cushion an economic slowdown and government revenue grew by the smallest percentage in 27 years, Finance Ministry data showed today.

The ministry said fiscal expenditure rose 15.8 per cent from 2014, while fiscal revenue grew 8.4 per cent, leaving a deficit of 2.355 trillion yuan. The figures are subject to revisions. For 2014, China reported a deficit of 1.131 trillion yuan, less than half of last year’s size.

The slowing economy has taken a toll on government income, and last year’s annual growth was the smallest since 1988, according to state news agency Xinhua.

The ministry — which did not provide December figures for revenue or expenditure — said China’s economy faced ‘relatively large pressure’ last year. It added that fiscal operations were ‘basically stable’ in 2015. In November, expenditure was 25.9 per cent higher than in the same month of 2014.