Business / Economy

Foreign debt risk decreasing, says forex regulator

By Reuters (China Daily) Updated: 2014-04-01 16:11

China's foreign exchange regulator said on Monday it does not see any risk in the country's relatively high ratio of short-term foreign debt to total foreign debt, noting the country had a large pile of foreign reserves to fall back on.

China's outstanding short-term foreign debt accounted for 78 percent of total outstanding foreign debt at the end of last year, the State Administrator of Foreign Exchange said. The internationally accepted safety line is 25 percent.

But Guo Song, deputy director of SAFE's capital account management department, said China's foreign exchange reserves must be considered.

"I cannot see any problem or risks in having a 78 percent short-term foreign debt to total foreign debt ratio, because we are focusing more on the ratio between short-term debt to forex reserves, which was at 17.7 percent at the end of 2013," Guo told reporters. "Overall, we can say that the foreign debt risk in China is decreasing."

SAFE said China's total outstanding foreign debt stood at $863.2 billion at the end of December 2013, of which $676.6 billion was short-term debt. Foreign exchange reserves were $3.82 trillion, the world's largest.

Concern has risen in recent months over the size of China's domestic debt which, coupled with a slowing economy, sparked talk of the government stepping in to prop up growth.

China saw its first ever domestic bond default earlier this month, when Shanghai Chaori Solar Energy Science and Technology Co Ltd failed to make an interest payment on a bond it issued in 2012.

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