China’s fiscal spending rose 3.8 percent in April from a year earlier, slowing sharply from a 25.4 percent jump in March and adding to signs of cooling in the world’s second-largest economy. Central government spending rose 3 percent in April from a year earlier while local government spending grew 3.9 percent, the finance ministry said on Friday. The slowdown in spending was mainly due to significant expenditure earlier, the ministry said in a statement on its website. Government spending in January-April rose 16.3 percent from a year earlier, it said.
Government-led stimulus has been a major driver of economic growth over the past years, but the pump-priming has also been accompanied by runaway credit growth and has created a mountain of debt. Authorities have stepped up efforts in the last several months to curb debt and housing risks, and a raft of recent data has showed signs of cooling in the economy, which expanded a solid 6.9 percent in the first quarter.
Fiscal revenue increased 11.8 percent in the first four months and was up 7.8 percent in April from a year earlier, slowing from March’s 12.2 percent rise, the ministry said. China has kept its budget deficit at 3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) for 2017, the same as last year, and pledged to clamp down on risks associated with local government debt.