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China Budget Gap Said Set to Widen 50% to $192 Billion

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Dec. 27 (Bloomberg) -- China plans to increase the budget deficit by 50 percent to 1.2 trillion yuan ($192 billion) in 2013, including the sale of 350 billion yuan of bonds to fund local governments, a person familiar with the matter said.

The central government deficit is budgeted at 850 billion yuan, according to the person, who asked not to be identified as the deliberations are not public. The nation’s leaders target about 8 percent trade growth, down from this year’s 10 percent goal, the person said.

A bigger fiscal deficit may give China’s new leadership under Xi Jinping more room for tax cuts and measures to boost urbanization and consumer demand. The 1.2 trillion-yuan total compares with an 800 billion-yuan target this year, which included a 550 billion-yuan central government deficit and 250 billion yuan in local government bond sales.

“The year 2013 is the first year for the new Chinese leadership, and urbanization will receive a big push,” said Zhang Zhiwei, chief China economist at Nomura Holdings Inc. in Hong Kong. “Financial support, including an expanded fiscal deficit in the budget, is needed for that.”

Apart from a trial program launched in late 2011, local governments are barred from selling bonds directly and can’t run deficits. China Business News reported the 1.2 trillion yuan figure today and Economic Information Daily reported an 8 percent trade target.

China News Service reported a 10 percent growth target for industrial production in 2013.

The government usually reveals specific goals at the legislature’s annual meeting in March.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: John Liu in Beijing at jliu42@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Panckhurst at ppanckhurst@bloomberg.net

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