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Govt debt and urbanization

By Mike Bastin | China Daily | Updated: 2013-07-31 07:40

The State Council, China's cabinet, has directed the National Audit Office to audit all local government debt accounts, reflecting the rising concern over debt levels amid the economic slowdown. Of late, disappointing trade figures, combined with lower than expected second quarter GDP figures, have increased the pressure on the central government to introduce some sort of financial stimulus package to boost the economy.

Many experts, however, are warning against any such stimulus for the urbanization drive. The problem is local governments' debts, which have been in the news ever since the central government announced a 4-trillion-yuan ($652-billion) stimulus package in 2008 to overcome the shocks of the global financial crisis. In fact, the experts say it's the stimulus that helped create this mountain of debt.

According to official data, local government debts today exceed 12 trillion yuan, although ratings agency Fitcsh suggests the figure could be as high as 13 trillion yuan, or a quarter of China's GDP.

Govt debt and urbanization

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