The Fiji Times

US national debt hits $33 trillion

China accelerate­s economic policies


THE US national debt has breached the $33 trillion mark for the first time, amid concerns that another fight over federal spending may trigger the first government shutdown since 2019.

The United States’ gross national debt has surpassed $33 trillion for the first time, highlighti­ng the country’s uncertain fiscal course as Washington faces a possible government shutdown – its first since 2019 – amid a fight over federal spending.

According to the US Treasury Department, as of September 18, 2023 (just 12 days shy of the end of the country’s fiscal year), the national debt has risen to $33,053,950,837,720 or $33.05 trillion.

Debate over the debt is growing louder, with Republican­s and Democrats in the House and the Senate divided on a path forward to avoid a potential government shutdown.

Even accounting for newly passed spending cuts, the US national debt is on track to top $50 trillion by the end of the decade, impacted by mounting interest and the cost of the nation’s social programs.

BEIJING - China will speed up the introducti­on of more policies to consolidat­e its economic recovery, state media CCTV reported on Wednesday, citing a cabinet meeting chaired by Premier Li Qiang, after the economy showed tentative signs of stabilisin­g.

With a flurry of support steps kicking in, the US$18 trillion economy showed better-than-expected figures including bank lending, industrial production and consumptio­n gauges last month, but the wobbling property sector still weighs on its economic outlook.

China will stick to deepening reforms and further opening up and will fully mobilize the enthusiasm of businesses, CCTV said. “China will accelerate the introducti­on of relevant policies and work implementa­tion, as well as further consolidat­e the economy’s upward trend,” CCTV said.

Feedback from an inspection and survey of the country’s economic recovery was presented at the meeting, according to state media.

Local government­s and government department­s must attach great attention to problems found during the inspection and survey, and push for policy measures already released to take effect, CCTV reported, citing the meeting.

Responding to the advice gathered during the survey, relevant government department­s should make plans and carry out indepth research considerin­g 2024’s economic work, the state media said.

The world’s second-biggest economy lost steam since April as its rebound from COVID reopening missed expectatio­ns by markets and economists.

China should step up policy support for the economy while promoting reforms to help achieve the annual growth target of around five per cent, Yi Gang, former governor of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), said in remarks published on Wednesday. The Asian Developmen­t Bank on Wednesday trimmed its growth forecast of China to 4.9 per cent from five per cent in July due to the weakness in the property sector.

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