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China’s debt-heavy local countries are looking for recent ways to raise money

March 29, 2023: Debt-heavy provincial governments in China need the recent ways to raise money under a central law that’s made transparent. Its priority is to decrease financial tensions.

Local administrated’ direct debt exceeded 120% of earnings in 2022, S&P Global prices analysts said, which noted that’s more than what Beijing has unofficially stated that it was an acceptable debt level.

“The country’s provinces and municipalities relying heavily on expanded bond issuance carrying them through a COVID-triggered economic slowdown and has come down land-sale revenues,” the S&P analysts stated in a report last month.

International Monetary Fund data experience China’s explicit local administration debt doubled over five years to the equal of $5.14 trillion or 35.34 trillion yuan in the previous year. That doesn’t include several categories of related, growing debt, like that of “local government financing vehicles” (LGFV), allowing regional authorities to tap bank loans for infrastructure projects.

China’s central government is paying attention.

In China’s annual administration work report released this month, an entire section was for preventing and defusing significant risks, primarily in real estate and primary government debt. “We should prevent a build-up of recent debts while working to decrease existing ones,” the report said regarding the local administration’ situation.

The topic didn’t get such prominence in the previous year’s report, pointed out Ting Lu, chief China economist at Nomura.

“Coupled with the conservative increase target, this may signal a potential shift focusing on tackling financial risks and hidden debt from local administered at a similar point this year, particularly in H2, after the economic recovery has primarily stabilized,” Lu said.

Recent key talks from Chinese President Xi Jinping have used similar language in reaching officials to address systemic risks. New Premier Li Qiang also named policies for “stopping and defusing risks” as one of the rule’s near-term priorities.

Xi has emphasized tackling corruption, an issue prevalent in China, which includes at a local level.

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China’s debt-heavy local countries are looking for recent ways to raise money