BEIJING (Reuters) - China will gradually increase government spending over the course of this year as planned to support its slowing economy, Chinese media quoted a vice finance minister as saying on Monday.
Zhu Guangyao was quoted by the China Economic Weekly magazine as saying that China would "appropriately increase the size of its fiscal deficit" this year to 2.3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), as announced by the government in March.
China ran a fiscal deficit of 2.1 percent of GDP last year.
Finance Minister Lou Jiwei said in March that China's fiscal deficit should be worth 2.7 percent of GDP this year after taking into account some $18 billion of cash that was allocated to previous budgets but has not been spent.
"In the second-half of this year, China's economic growth momentum will further stabilize and strengthen," Zhu told the magazine which is run by the People's Daily, the official newspaper of the Communist Party.
"There is full confidence that China (can meet) its economic growth target of around 7 percent this year," he said.
On China's protracted talks with the United States to hammer out a bilateral investment treaty that gives both sides mutual access to each other's markets, Zhu said he hoped for significant progress at the next round of negotiations in September.
China President Xi Jinping is scheduled to visit Washington in September.
China and the United States have finished 19 rounds of talks so far with regards to the investment treaty, Zhu said.
Reporting by Koh Gui Qing; Editing by Jeremy Laurence