Chinese local government debt recored as 10.89 trillion yuan (US$ 1.78 trillion), market hope for debt crisis vanished

By | December 31, 2013

On December 30, the National Audit Office published the results of audit of the national government debt. As of the end of June 2013, all level of governments in China bear the responsibility to repay a total debt of 20.7 trillion yuan (US$ 3.82 trillion), of which the local government debts account for 10.89 trillion yuan (US$ 1.78 trillion).

Previously, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences(CASS) claimed on December 25th in the national balance sheet preparation and risk assessment report that in 2012 the total government debt in China was about 28 trillion (US$ 4.575 trillion), of which the local government debt was 19.94 trillion (US$ 3.258 trillion).

In addition, a number of international investment banks made estimates of local government debt. Standard Chartered Group’s report said the local government debt in China could reach 21.9-24.4 trillion yuan; JP Morgan estimated the size of Chinese local government debt trillion to be ranged from 15 trillion to 20 million. The 10.89 trillion (US$ 3.258 trillion) local government debt as announced by the National Audit Office is obviously much lower than estimations by major financial organizations.

According to National Audit Office, the overall debt ratio in the Chinese governments is 105.66%. IMF debt ratio control standards set the reference value as from 90 to 150%. Thus the results showed that the national government debt risk level is within control with reference to the international standard, and the overall risk is under control, which means that highly expected local government debts crisis in China is not possible at present.

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