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Debt level at China’s central SOEs under control: regulator

Updated: Mar 11,2018 10:35 AM     Xinhua

BEIJING — The overall debt of China’s centrally-administered State-owned enterprises (SOEs) is under control and in steady decline, the country’s state assets regulator said on March 10.

Xiao Yaqing, head of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC), made the remarks on March 10 at a press conference on the sidelines of the annual legislative session.

The debt of central SOEs has been controlled, with the average debt-to-asset ratio at 66.3 percent at the end of 2017, 0.4 percentage point lower then a year ago, according to Xiao.

However, Xiao warned that risks still exist in some central SOEs and subsidiary enterprises burdened with high leverage.

Risk control and deleveraging will still be an important task for China’s central SOEs this year and beyond, he said.

To lower the debt level, the SASAC will continue to enhance debt and asset management, capital replenishment, and risk control in overseas investment, said Xiao.

Forestalling and defusing major risks is one of China’s “three tough battles” for the next three years, along with targeted poverty alleviation, and pollution prevention and control.

By 2020, the SASAC aims to cut the debt-to-asset ratio of central SOEs by another 2 percentage points.