CHINA’S local government debt balance stood at 16.61 trillion yuan (US$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, all for debt swaps and refunding.

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

In the first four months, China’s fiscal revenue rose 12.9 percent year on year to 6.9 trillion yuan, the ministry said. China cut its fiscal deficit target to 2.6 percent of GDP for 2018, down by 0.4 percentage points from that in 2017, the first drop since 2013.

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