| GEO Business|
| China's fiscal deficit to hit record high in 2009|
| Updated at: 1255 PST, Monday, February 23, 2009|
BEIJING: China's fiscal deficit is set to hit a record high this year, as the global crisis shrinks revenues while forcing the government to spend more on pump-priming, local media said.
The finance ministry has foreseen a deficit of 950 billion yuan (139 billion dollars) in its draft budget for 2009, a local business daily reported over the weekend.
The figure is nine times higher than a deficit of 111 billion yuan in 2008, and it accounts for about three percent of the overall economy, which is an internationally recognised alarm level, the paper said.
The deficit will result from fiscal spending in 2009 topping 7.6 trillion yuan, up 22.1 percent from 2008, as the government plans to raise investment in 15 sectors including housing and transportation.