Business / Macro

China local debts growth down, problems hang

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-06-25 09:48

BEIJING - China has seen slowing growth in local government debts since the middle of last year, an annual audit report showed on Tuesday.

The balance of debts for the nine provincial governments and nine municipal governments audited by the National Audit Office grew by an average of 3.79 percent from the end of last June to the end of March.

China local debts growth down, problems hang
The figure is 7 percentage points below the average rate for the first half of 2013, according to the office's 2013 report to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC).

According to the report, local governments at various levels were liable for a total direct debt of 20.69 trillion yuan ($3.4 trillion) at the end of last June, as well as another 9.5 trillion yuan in debts with limited liabilities.

The debt risk in this area is generally within control, the report concluded.

It also exposed a number of local debt problems such as overdue debts and investors backing out of contracts.

By the end of March, nine audited provincial governments still had previous arrears of 821 million yuan, even though they had borrowed 57.9 billion yuan over the last nine months to repay due debts.

Four out of the nine audited municipal governments financed 15.7 billion yuan through non-procedural government guarantees or mortgages, and used 10.8 billion yuan in real estate and other projects in breach of the contract.

Four provincial and municipal governments raised 6.9 billion yuan through non-public financing tools like private placement bonds, which are not in line with the rules.

Two of the 18 provincial and municipal governments do not have a debt management system and nine have not established a debt risk early-warning system, according to the report.

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