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China’s local government debt balance at 16.61t yuan by end of April

Updated: May 17,2018 9:42 PM     Xinhua

BEIJING — China’s local government debt balance stood at 16.61 trillion yuan (about $2.6 trillion) at the end of April, well within the official limit, data from the Ministry of Finance showed.

The country’s top legislative body has decided that the upper limit for local government debt this year should be 20.99 trillion yuan.

China issued local government bonds worth 301.8 billion yuan in April and 521.3 billion yuan in the first four months of this year, all for debt swaps and refunding.

China has made bond issuance the sole legal way for local governments to raise debt amid the nation’s efforts to forestall systemic financial crisis, Finance Minister Xiao Jie said in March.

In the first four months, China’s fiscal revenue went up 12.9 percent year-on-year to 6.9 trillion yuan, according to the ministry.

With the economy on a firm footing and fiscal revenue increasing, China lowered its fiscal deficit target to 2.6 percent of GDP for 2018, down by 0.4 percentage points compared with 2017, the first drop since 2013.