Experts Predict 3 Percent Growth in China’s Military Budget Amid Rising Defence Needs

In a Global Times survey with nine military experts, three calculated a growth rate of around 3 percent, leading to a possible budget of about 1.22 trillion yuan ($171.5 billion), one predicted a 5 to 6 percent growth to about 1.25 trillion yuan, three said it was difficult to forecast, and two said a shrink is possible.

China takes into consideration the development of the economy and the demands of national defence when deciding on the appropriate scale and composition of defence expenditure, according to the national defence white paper issued by the State Council Information Office in July 2019.

Both these elements favor growth, although the growth rate could become slower, analysts said.

China’s defence budget for 2019 was 1.19 trillion yuan, up 7.5 percent from 2018. China has maintained single-digit growth in its annual defence budget since 2016.

Limited economic impact

In the past three decades, China has kept its military expenditure/GDP ratio to under 2 percent. In the last 10 years, this figure was maintained at around 1.3 percent, according to the 2019 white paper.

This overall trend is unlikely to change drastically, analysts said.

Despite China’s economy contracting 6.8 percent in the first three months of the year due to quarantines introduced as an important measure to control and prevent COVID-19, which has restricted many kinds of businesses and trade activities, the country’s economy is already restarting following the comprehensive work resumptions…

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