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[BEIJING] A larger fiscal deficit ratio in 2016 will help China prevent a slide in economic growth and to push forward with structural reform, Finance Minister Lou Jiwei said on Monday.
Mr Lou told a media conference in Beijing that the 2015 budget deficit was 2.4 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), two days after the finance ministry said China had budgeted for a deficit of 3 per cent of GDP in 2016.
China had budgeted for a fiscal deficit of 2.3 per cent of GDP in 2015, he said.
Mr Lou said the level of non-performing loans at banks was expected to rise "mildly", when asked about rising bad debt levels in relation to structural reform.
He noted that reform of the tax system was going more slowly than expected.