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China’s Shaky Recovery: Fiscal Revenue Down 2.7% This Year

Fiscal spending in April was up 6.1%, compared with a 2.9% fall in March, according to calculations based on Finance ministry data

Fitch has said fiscal policy is likely to play an important role in supporting growth in the coming years, which could keep debt on a steady upward trend, and that contingent liability risks may also be rising, amid "high economy-wide leverage." (Reuters image shows the Shanghai skyline).


In a further sign of China’s uneven recovery, fiscal revenue fell by 2.7% in the first four months of 2024 from the previous year.

The first quarter, from January to March, saw a 2.3% drop, including a 2.4% decline in March, and that expanded to a 3.7 fall in April.

Fiscal expenditure rose 3.5% in the first four months, versus a 2.9% gain in the first quarter, according to finance ministry data released on Monday.


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Fiscal spending in April was up 6.1%, compared with March’s 2.9% fall, according to Reuters’ calculations based on the ministry data.

Excluding factors such as last year’s high base and tax cut policies, fiscal revenue in the first four months grew 2%, the ministry said in a statement.

China has set an ambitious economic growth target of around 5% for this year, which many analysts say will be a challenge to meet as prolonged weakness in the property sector and tepid consumer demand remain a drag on the economy.

Factory output topped forecasts in April, helped by improving external demand, but retail sales unexpectedly slowed and the property sector remained a key drag on the economy, piling pressure on Beijing to do more to support growth.

The expansion of outstanding total social financing (TSF), a broad measure of credit and liquidity, hit a record low of 8.3% in April, amid lagging government bond issuance.

On Friday, China unveiled “historic” property easing measures and the finance ministry kicked off the issuance of 1 trillion yuan in long-dated special treasury bonds to stimulate key sectors of the economy.


  • Reuters with additional editing by Jim Pollard



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Jim Pollard

Jim Pollard is an Australian journalist based in Thailand since 1999. He worked for News Ltd papers in Sydney, Perth, London and Melbourne before travelling through SE Asia in the late 90s. He was a senior editor at The Nation for 17+ years.


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