China’s Coffers Are Depleted Just as Virus Spurs Spending

China’s provinces are facing the economic fallout from the coronavirus with depleted ammunition, given they were already bracing for a deterioration in public finances before the outbreak hit, Bloomberg News reported. More than half of mainland provinces expect slower expansion of revenue in 2020 than last year’s average local income growth, according to their budgets published before the disease outbreak became widespread in January. Hubei, the epicenter, was already expecting income to fall. That stretches the government’s efforts to make fiscal policy more supportive of the economy in the aftermath of the outbreak, and means more bond sales and borrowing are likely. Government at all levels is re-thinking plans for this year as factories and businesses across the country remain shut, spelling immediate trouble for tax receipts. Read more

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