BEIJING (Reuters) - China's fiscal spending surged 17.4 percent in the first two months of 2017 from the same period of last year, the finance ministry said on Wednesday, quickening from a 12 percent gain seen in the same period a year ago.

Central government spending rose 8.1 percent from a year earlier, while spending by local governments jumped by 19.1 percent, the ministry said in a statement on its website.

China relied heavily on infrastructure spending to stabilize growth last year as private companies pulled back on investment.

Beijing cut its growth target to around 6.5 percent this year, as policymakers turned to tackling a build-up in debt and containing financial risks.


Spending on public housing rose the fastest with a 34.5 percent gain from a year ago, while social welfare and employment expenses - the biggest category by value - rose 25.9 percent, it said.

Fiscal revenues rose 14.9 percent, compared to an increase of 6.3 percent in the same period of 2016, due to higher commodity and producer prices, better economic fundamentals and distortions caused by an earlier Chinese new year holiday, the Ministry said.

That implied a fiscal surplus of 659.4 billion yuan ($95.42 billion) in the January-February period, according to Reuters calculations.

China is aiming for a 3 percent fiscal deficit in 2017.

(Reporting by Beijing Monitoring Desk and Yawen Chen; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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