RPT-UPDATE 1-China June fiscal spending jumps 26.1 pct y/y as Beijing spurs flagging economy

Mon Jul 14, 2014 1:01am EDT

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* June fiscal expenditure up 26.1 pct y/y

* H1 spending on public housing surges 30.2 pct

* Healthcare & rural sector spending also grow fast

BEIJING, July 14 (Reuters) - China's fiscal expenditure surged 26.1 percent in June from a year earlier to 1.65 trillion yuan ($265.84 billion), reflecting government efforts to speed up spending to shore up the economy.

Spending growth accelerated from a rise of 24.6 percent in May.

Of the total 6.9 trillion yuan of government spending in the first six months, money disbursed on public housing projects grew the most, surging 30.2 percent from a year ago to 201.9 billion yuan, the finance ministry said on Monday.

Expenditure on medical and healthcare sectors rose 18.4 percent in the first half to 490.5 billion yuan, while spending on rural-urban community projects grew 23.6 percent to 618 billion yuan.

The finance ministry had earlier urged local governments to quicken the pace of budget allocation to guarantee the completion of key projects and lift the slowing economy.

Recent data and activity surveys have pointed to some signs of stabilisation in the economy as a raft of government stimulus measures kick in, but many economists believe more policy support still may be needed if Beijing wants to deliver on its 2014 economic growth target of around 7.5 percent.

"Data in June so far have looked relatively weaker compared to past periods of rebound," HSBC said in a research report late last week.

"This means downside risks to growth still cannot be underestimated in the second half and policy makers should step up their easing effort to sustain the recovery."

Monday's data also showed China's fiscal revenues rose 8.8 percent in June from a year ago to 1.3 trillion yuan, the ministry said in a statement published on its website, www.mof.gov.cn

The June reading of fiscal income is a touch higher than an increase of 7.2 percent in May, though the finance ministry warned that the slowing broader economy and tax cuts for selected industries could continue to weigh on fiscal revenues in the second half of this year.

The government reports second-quarter gross domestic product on Wednesday.

Aided by stimulus measures, China's economy probably steadied in the second quarter with annual growth holding firm at 7.4 percent, a Reuters poll showed, suggesting that a recovery is taking hold.

($1 = 6.2067 yuan) (Reporting by Aileen Wang and Koh Gui Qing; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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