BEIJING — The bond issuance by China’s local governments dropped mildly last year, and the debt level stayed within the reasonable range, official data showed.
Local authorities raised a total of 4.17 trillion yuan ($613.51 billion) through bond issuance in 2018, down from the 4.36 trillion yuan in 2017, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) said in a statement.
The debt balance stood at 18.39 trillion yuan at the end of last year, well below the official ceiling of 21 trillion yuan.
“Indicators of China’s local government debts are generally within the reasonable range, and the risk is largely controllable,” Hao Lei, deputy head of the MOF’s budget bureau, said on Jan 23 at a press conference.
The local debt ratio was 76.6 percent last year, significantly lower than the international warning line of 100 percent to 120 percent, while the total government debt ratio, taking the central government into account, came in at 37 percent, also far from the level of 60 percent set by the European Union.
China will rigorously control risks in local government bonds and implicit debts while financing infrastructure projects and fixing weak areas, Hao said.
Central authorities assigned 1.39 trillion yuan worth of bonds to local governments ahead of schedule for this year, accounting for 63 percent of the total new debt quota in 2018.
The bond issuance is expected to be completed by September and will be used to finance projects under construction and other major projects of transportation, water conservation and environmental protection.
The debt balance stood at 18.39 trillion yuan at the end of last year, well below the official ceiling of 21 trillion yuan, according to the Ministry of Finance.